- India’s nuclear regulator, has demonstrated a strong commitment and professionalism to assure regulation of nuclear and radiation safety
- IRRS team praised India’s efforts to incorporate regulatory procedures onto an online platform
- The regulations and guidelines should be updated to ensure consistency with the IAEA safety standards
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), India’s nuclear regulator, has demonstrated a strong commitment and professionalism to assure regulation of nuclear and radiation safety in the nation, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A recent follow-up mission by the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team to assess India’s progress in implementing recommendations and proposals made during the initial IRRS mission in 2015 has just been completed. IAEA mission in 2015 reviewed regulatory actions pertaining to the nation’s nuclear power reactors. In terms of reviewing radiation sources, the follow-up mission’s scope was expanded. Facilities in the fields of science, industry, medicine, and agriculture all use radiation sources.
With a total installed capacity of 6,780 MW(e) and 22 operational nuclear reactors across 7 sites, India generates around 3.3 percent of its total electricity. There are currently plans for eight more reactors. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), India’s regulatory agency hosted the review, carried out at the government’s request.
Based on IAEA safety standards and global best practises, IRRS missions are intended to improve the efficiency of national regulatory infrastructures for nuclear and radiation safety while acknowledging that it is the duty of each nation to assure nuclear and radiation safety.
AERB employees were the subject of a number of interviews and discussions by the IRRS team, which was made up of three IAEA employees and seven senior regulatory specialists from United States, Finland, Romania, Canada, Slovenia.
The AERB’s efforts to incorporate regulatory procedures onto an online platform were praised by the IRRS team as having considerably increased the effectiveness of procedures for controlling radiation sources. The review team also welcomed actions taken which directly addressed the recommendations of the 2015 mission, including, improved inspection programme, enhanced training and strengthening the powers of inspectors. Review acknowledged implementation of recommendations related to updated staff qualification and training programmes for building and maintaining expertise required for discharging its responsibilities. Review also acknowledged establishing process for regularly reviewing regulations and guides.
The team’s report emphasised the need for the government to make sure that the AERB has enough funding to continue its international work on the creation of safety standards and the sharing of knowledge on nuclear and radiation safety. A national policy and strategy should be developed to define who is responsible for regaining control over orphan sources. The regulations and guidelines should be updated to ensure consistency with the IAEA safety standards, and the hierarchy of the regulatory documents should be made clearer.
Media Reports in May 2021 suggested about the recovery of 7 kilogrammes of highly radioactive uranium from a scrap dealer, valued at 210 million Indian rupees, which caused grave fears about India’s nuclear security capabilities.
India has a proven track record of acting as a responsible nuclear state and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons as well as materials. In India, nuclear energy for civil purposes is well-established and has been a top priority since 1947, the year of independence. The Atomic Energy Act and Atomic Energy Commission were both passed in 1948. India, under the leadership of the United States, has established a global accord that now permits it to bring more of itself inside the international safeguards regime and to import nuclear power plants and uranium fuel without giving up its nuclear weapons. Its safeguards agreement with the IAEA’s Additional Protocol entered into force in 2014.
Staff Galactik Views