Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) has issued a report on its extended follow-up mission to India. The mission was held from 9th to 20th June, 2022.
The purpose was to review the actions taken to address the recommendations and suggestions made during the IRRS initial mission in 2015 and to review regulatory activities in relation to the radiation sources facilities and activities. The IRRS review addressed the findings from the initial mission which was limited in scope and only covered nuclear power plants (NPPs). The new mission included an extended review for modules 5 to 9 for the radiation sources facilities and activities regulated by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
The mission was also used to exchange information and experience between team members and the Indian counterparts in the areas covered by the mission. Two policy issues were discussed in the course of the mission in order to share experiences on:
- Safe management of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources (DSRS); and
- Regulation of radioactive waste from radiation facilities handling unsealed sources
The IRRS team comprised 7 senior regulatory experts from 5 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Member States and 3 IAEA staff members.
Overall, the IRRS team concluded that AERB showed a strong commitment and professionalism to ensure that nuclear and radiation safety is implemented in the country. AERB has considered the recommendations and suggestions made by the 2015 mission in a systematic manner and significant improvements have been made in many areas. Of the original 13 recommendations and 21 suggestions, 11 recommendations and 20 suggestions have been closed, and the IRRS team did not make any new finding in relation to the topics covered during the IRRS initial mission.
With respect to radiation sources facilities and activities, the IRRS team concluded that AERB generally implements the regulatory process and safety requirements in accordance with the IAEA safety standards. However, areas for improvement were identified and the IRRS team made 3 recommendations and 3 suggestions in the following areas:
- Safety assessments which have to be part of the application for a consent in systematic
- Submission of independent verifications of the safety assessments of radiation sources facilities and activities when appropriate in accordance with a graded approach;
- Establishment of comprehensive radiation protection programmes for all facilities and activities
- Revision of the frequency of planned inspections and the duration of validity of regulatory consent in accordance with a graded approach;
- Development of a national policy and strategy to define responsibilities in regaining control over orphan sources; and
- Revision of regulations and guides, where appropriate, to ensure consistency with the IAEA safety standards and clarification of the hierarchy of the regulatory documents.