Distinguished scientist Dinesh Kumar Shukla took charge as the new Chairman of India’s nuclear regulator, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), on December 31, 2022, according to an AERB release.
He had earlier served with the AERB before superannuating from the organisation in February 2021.
Shukla joined the AERB in 2015, where he served in various capacities as the member of the Board, Executive Director and Chairman of Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants.
Shukla is an internationally acclaimed expert in the field of nuclear safety. After graduating from Government Engineering College, Jabalpur in Mechanical Engineering in 1980, Shukla joined the Bhabha Atomic Energy Research Centre (BARC) in 1981.
He had been associated with the commissioning of the high flux research reactor ‘Dhruva’ and later held the position of Head, Reactor Operations Division, BARC.
The AERB was constituted in 1983 under India’s Atomic Energy Act, 1962, to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions under the Act.
The mission of the AERB is to ensure that the use of ionizing radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to the health of people and the environment.
Earlier last year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted its Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to review India’s regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety.
The IRRS peer review mission took place at the request of the Indian government and was hosted by the AERB.
According to an AERB release, while a similar IAEA mission in 2015 covered regulatory activities in relation to nuclear power plants, the scope of the recent mission, besides the follow up of the 2015 mission recommendations and suggestions, was extended to include the review of safety regulations of radiation sources facilities and activities.
The ten member IRRS team was composed of senior regulatory experts from five IAEA member states and IAEA staff members, the statement said.
“The IRRS team reviewed India’s progress against the recommendations and suggestions identified in the initial IRRS mission-2015 and safety regulations of radiation sources used in facilities and in activities in the country in the field of research, industry, medicine and agriculture”, the statement said.
“The IRRS team led by Mr. Ramzi Jammal acknowledged that the AERB has acted on all the recommendations and suggestions made during the 2015 mission and thus significant improvements have been made in various areas, and noted a number of achievements in the following areas — improved inspection programme, including enhanced training and strengthening the powers of inspectors; staff qualification and training programmes aimed at building and maintaining expertise necessary for discharging its responsibilities; process for regularly reviewing regulations and guides”, it added.