Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Releases the Annual Report for the Year 2011-12
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has released its Annual Report for the year 2011-2012, which brings out the safety status of the nuclear and radiation facilities regulated by it. The Report highlights the outcome of the post Fukushima-Comprehensive safety review that was carried out to verify the existing safety margins of Indian Nuclear Power Plants and Projects (NPPs) against the extreme external hazards, including special focused inspections. The safety review recognized the inherent strengths of design, operating practices and regulations followed in India, which have resulted in robust systems capable of withstanding challenges arising from external events.

To further augment the existing safety features of NPPs, safety enhancements as recommended by AERB-High Level Committee, have been accepted by AERB for time-bound implementation. These measures include among others, enhancing the reliability of cooling through external hook up points, training and mock-up exercises of operating personnel, strengthening backup power supply, strengthening provision for monitoring of critical parameter under prolonged loss of power, enhancing Severe Accident Management programme, creation of an emergency response facility capable of withstanding severe flood, cyclone & earthquake, etc. AERB will be rigorously monitoring the implementation of all the requirements.

The Annual Report also focuses on the safety status of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs), Fuel Cycle Facilities (FCFs) and Radiation Facilities monitored by AERB. The safety statistics of NPPs and FCFs for 2011-12 brings out the following salient information.

• No event in the operating nuclear power plants has been categorized as an ‘accident’ as per International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES).

• The radiation doses of occupational workers of nuclear facilities were well within the annual dose limit, with an exception of 3 cases of over exposure at KAPS-1&2. These doses are too small to cause any detectable impact on the health of the workers.

• The liquid and gaseous wastes discharged to the environment from the operating units were only a small fraction of the prescribed Technical Specification limits.

• The estimated radiation dose to members of the public near the operating plants is much less than the annual limit of 1mSv as prescribed by AERB, the maximum being less than 4% for old plant sites and less than 0.2% for new plant sites.

• Over the years, with constant efforts from AERB and dedicated commitment from utilities, the industrial safety performance of DAE units has improved appreciably.

AERB adopted several measures for strengthening its regulatory control over radiation facilities, which include computerization of inventory of legacy sources, initiation of steps to implement state of the art e-licensing of radiation applications, establishing regional regulatory centres, conducting awareness programmes, increasing the number of inspections in the radiation facilities etc.

AERB continued its process of development of regulatory documents and issued seven new documents.

In the field of International Co-operation, as a Contracting Party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), India is participating and contributing in the review meetings of CNS. AERB presented the national report of India during the 5th review meeting of the contracting parties of CNS at Vienna. AERB also became a full member of Multi-national Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP) through which participating regulatory bodies of various countries evolve common approaches for harmonization of regulatory and safety practices.

Apart from the mandated activities, AERB was keenly involved in carrying out safety related studies and various safety promotional activities, which have been elaborated in the annual report.

The full report is available on AERB website. 

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