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.
Safety Review Committee (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.
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
to set up AERB
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
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.