Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)

There is a call for granting regulatory independence to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) by law. Examine why. (200 Words)

The Atomic Energy Act, 1962, empowers the central government to produce, develop and use atomic energy. At present, nuclear safety is regulated by theAtomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
Strains in AERB:
  1. The AERB is not empowered to operate as an independent operator.
  2. AERB was established by the government through a notification
  3. Its powers and functions are therefore amendable by the Department of Atomic Energy through executive orders.
  4. The parliamentary oversight exercised upon such executive action is lower than the parliamentary oversight over statutes.
To Change this scenario, the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill was drafted by the DAE.
Vital provisions:
  1. To establish The Nuclear Safety Council oversee these policies includes the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy.
  2. The Bill provides that members of the NSRA can be removed by an order of the central government without a judicial inquiry. This needs to be changed.
  3. NSRA must be established in parallel safety provisions of IAEA.
  1. Board of an autonomous status will change nothing on the ground level as it will only give a legal status to AERB
  2. CAG Report in 2011 had highlighted the drawbacks in the present regulatory mechanisms and recommended the establishment of a statutory regulator.
  3. India needs a “national policy” for nuclear safety and radioactive waste management, and needs more “internal emergency arrangements”.
Thus, for secure nuclear outlook and precautions to any catastrophic incident, India needs to change role and status of AERB.



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