Preparation of Nuclear and Radiation Safety Policy

The mission of AERB is to ensure that the use of ionizing radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause unacceptable impact on the health of workers and the members of the public and on the environment. The safety policies concerning the activities that are regulated by AERB are enshrined in the high level documents of AERB, namely the Radiation Protection Rules-2004, the AERB mission statement and the ‘Safety Codes & Guides’ of AERB. AERB has been developing Safety documents (codes & guides) over the years and their number currently stands at 144. No need was felt for a separate ‘Safety Policy’ document, as these are well defined in the existing documents.

As mentioned before, AERB has already published 144 regulatory documents concerning different aspects of regulation as well as safety aspects covering siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of the different types of nuclear power plants of the facilities it regulates.

AERB’s approach with respect to identifying and prioritising for preparation of specific regulatory documents is a dynamic and ongoing process and takes into account a number of factors such as urgency of the need for guidance, coverage of the intent of a particular document by one or more other documents, new developments etc. With developments and/or availability of new experience, there is a possibility that documents identified at one point of time might not be found necessary to be pursued later for publication. In a few cases, separate documents as identified at one point of time could be combined within the scope of a one or more documents identified later. Similarly new documents may also be identified based on the reviews for effective regulation of safety.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) did highlight the issue of development of safety policy document and the issue of some of the regulatory documents identified in the safety guide AERB/SG/G-6 (2001) being still under development.

The following actions were taken:

i. Detailed responses to explain the position of AERB and the status/ progress of development of the documents were submitted to CAG and Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

ii AERB has agreed to the suggestion of Comptroller and Auditor General of India, to the extent of consolidating the existing policy objectives and higher level principles as brought out in various codes and other documents into a separate `Safety Policy` document.

iii. Among the twenty seven documents referred in the question, AERB has already published three documents. After detailed review of the scope and the contents of seven documents, it was decided that they need not be brought out separately. Remaining seventeen documents have been incorporated in the document development plan of AERB in accordance with their assigned priorities.

This was stated by Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences (Independent Charge) Dr. Jitendra Singh in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.