The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was constituted on November
15, 1983 by the President of India by exercising the powers
conferred by the Atomic Energy Act to carry out certain
regulatory and safety functions under the Act. The regulatory
authority of AERB is derived from the rules and notifications
promulgated under the Atomic
and the Environment
(Protection) Act, 1986
The Mission of the AERB is to ensure the use of ionising radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to the health of people and the environment.
Currently, the Board consists of a
full-time Chairman, an ex-officio Member, three part-time Members
and a Secretary.
AERB is supported in its functions by a number of committees.
Members of all the AERB committees are recognized experts with
long experience in the relevant fields and come from DAE units,
various Governmental organizations, academic institutes and
industry. A large number of retired experts are also members of
the various AERB Committees.
The apex safety review committees of AERB are the
Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants (SARCOP) and the
Safety Review Committee for Applications of Radiation (SARCAR).
SARCOP was constituted in June, 1988 to evaluate and enforce
nuclear, radiological and industrial safety in all operating
units including public sector undertakings of the Department of
Atomic Energy, for ensuring safety of the operating personnel,
members of the public and the environment. SARCOP is supported
by a number of specialist committees such as the Standing
Committee on Reactor Physics, Committee on Steam and Water
Chemistry, Committee on Control & Instrumentation and
Computer Systems and Expert Group on Coolant Channel Safety for
detailed review of issues pertaining to specific technical
fields. In addition, there is a unit safety committee for each
operating unit (or a group of units) for detailed operational
safety review of individual units and advising SARCOP. In 1987,
AERB constituted a Committee known as Licensing and Appellate
Committee. This committee was restructured in 1991 with a new
name as Safety Review Committee for Applications of Radiation
(SARCAR) with a view to streamlining the implementation of
Radiation Protection Rules in all practices and organizations
using radioisotopes and radiation sources in medical,
industrial and research institutes.
AERB has constituted a number of Advisory Committees
that deal with nuclear safety, radiological safety, industrial
and fire safety, and occupational health. In addition, there
are Advisory Committees for Safety review of various Projects
(ACPSR) and Advisory Committees for assisting AERB in its
safety documents development work. The Advisory Committee on
Nuclear Safety (ACNS) was constituted in January, 1985. to
advise AERB on generic issues affecting the safety of nuclear
installations including siting, design, construction,
commissioning, operation and decommissioning The Committee also
reviews and makes final recommendations on the draft AERB
safety Codes, Guides and Manuals before they are put up to
Chairman, AERB for approval. Similarly, the Advisory Committee
on Radiological Safety (ACRS), Advisory Committee on Industrial
and Fire Safety (ACIFS) and the Advisory Committee on
Occupational Health (ACOH) advises AERB in the respective
fields. ACPSRs of various projects recommend to AERB issuance
of authorization at different stages during siting,
construction and commissioning of nuclear facilities including
NPPs, after reviewing the submissions made by the plant
authorities and based on the recommendations of the associated
Project Design Safety Committees. AERB has constituted an
Advisory Committee for preparation of Code & Guides on
Governmental Organization for the Regulation of Nuclear &
Radiation facilities (ACCGORN). There are also the Advisory
Committees for Codes, Guides & Associated Manuals for
Safety in Operation of NPPs (ACCGASO) and Safety in Design
(ACCGD) as also the Advisory Committee for Safety Documents for
Fuel Cycle Facilities (ACSDFCF).
AERB secretariat has ten divisions. The
heads and directors of divisions constitute the Executive
Committee which meets periodically with Chairman, AERB to take decisions on important policy matters
related to the management of the Secretariat of the Board.
In addition Safety Research Institute was set up at Kalplakkam to
carry out and promote safety related researcg in areas of
relevance to regulatory functions.
AERB has a
mechanism to check its effectiveness and quality assurance in its
activities and a process by which it improves its systems through
its own experience feedback and international regulatory
|THE FORMATION OF AERB: DOWN THE
During the commissioning of Tarapur Atomic Power Station
in 1969, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) set up a safety
committee to receive advice on matters related to safety and to
give clearance for first criticality and subsequent power
operation of the station. A Design and Operations Review
Committee was later constituted to monitor the safety aspects of
TAPS operation independently.
DAE-SRC was set up on February 3, 1972
to offer advice to DAE on safety matters related to
commissioning and operation of Unit-1 of Rajasthan Atomic
Power Station. The experts for the Committee were drawn from
within DAE. The Safety Committee appointed by Director, Power
Projects Engineering Division on December 15, 1969 to prepare
Safety Report for RAPS-1 was authorised by DAE to monitor the
performance of commissioning tests and to make safety reviews
till the attainment of commercial operation.
The formal regulatory review was consolidated with the
reconstitution of SRC on December 2, 1975 to deal with major
safety policies and issues in all the constituent units of
DAE. SRC dealt with nearly all aspects related to the safety
of operations in DAE units.
On July 23, 1979 Secretary, DAE constituted a Committee
chaired by Dr. M.D. Karkhanawala, Chairman, DAE-SRC with Shri
S.D. Soman the then Head, Health Physics Division as
Member-Secretary to study "the existing terms of reference of
SRC, its functions, the modalities of reporting by the Units
as well as the impediments faced by the Committee". According
to the notification setting up the committee, the review of
the terms of reference and the working of the Safety Review
Committee became necessary "to ensure that not only safety
consciousness is inculcated, but that safe practices prevail
in all the Units of the DAE including the public sector
The Committee was asked to report on the
specific functions and responsibilities of SRC in order to
enable the DAE to discharge its obligations under the Atomic
Energy Act in so far as all the units as well as the public
sector undertakings of the Department are concerned.
The Committee was reconstituted on February 18, 1980
with Shri V.N. Meckoni, the then Director, Chemical Group,
BARC as the Chairman and Shri S.D. Soman, the then Head,
Health Physics Division as Member-Secretary. The Report of the
Committee titled "Reorganization of Regulatory and Safety
Functions" (February 1981) recommended "the creation of Atomic
Energy Regulatory Board by the Atomic Energy Commission with
powers to lay down safety standards and assist DAE in framing
rules and regulations for enforcing regulatory and safety
requirements envisaged under the Atomic Energy Act 1962". The
Committee also recommended that AERB "should be a statutory
body under the Act (if necessary by suitable amendment of the
Act) to give AERB a legal basis".
The Committee stated that "in order to enable AERB
to function effectively and exercise its authority in an
independent manner it should be constituted by and reporting
to the Atomic Energy Commission and should consist of senior
persons from DAE as well as external members. In this manner
public confidence in nuclear safety matter would be enhanced".
The current functions and powers of AERB are almost
verbatim taken from the report of the committee. AERB was set
up on November 15, 1983. A separate notification indicating
the functions and responsibilities of DAE-SRC was issued
simultaneously. AERB's functions included enforcement of
provisions of radiological protection in the radiation
installations outside the DAE. Professor A.K.De, formerly
Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, was
appointed the first Chairman of AERB.
A Committee set up on March 21, 1987 with Shri V.N.
Meckoni as Chairman reviewed the functions and
responsibilities of AERB. The Committee submitted its
recommendations on May 15, 1987. These were accepted by the
Government. As recommended by the Committee, DAE-SRC became a
part of AERB as AERB-SRC and later as Safety Review Committee
for Operating Plants (AERB-SARCOP). The functions and
responsibilities of AERB were broadened considerably.
Currently, AERB is carrying out its functions as per the
original notification and in the light of the recommendations
of the Meckoni Committee.