Personnel, Grievances and Pensions
Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill seeks to dissolve the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and replace it with the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA).
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- The NSRA shall regulate nuclear safety and activities related to nuclear material and facilities. The government can exempt facilities from NSRA’s jurisdiction if they relate to national defence and security.
- The Bill also establishes the Council of Nuclear Safety to review policies on nuclear safety. The Council shall include the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
- The Chairperson of the NSRA will be on the search committee for the remaining members. A member of the NSRA may be removed by the central government after providing him an opportunity to be heard.
- An order of the NSRA can be appealed before the Appellate Authority, which would be set up by the Council ‘as and when required’.
- The Bill penalises all violations with imprisonment for up to five years.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The Council includes the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, who also heads the department that controls nuclear plants. This may lead to a conflict of interest.
- The Chairperson of the NSRA will be on the search committee for other members. This may affect the independence of other members.
- The Bill allows the central government to regulate certain nuclear facilities on its own. Such facilities would not be under any other independent regulatory authority.
- The Bill permits the central government to establish other regulatory bodies for regulating exempted facilities or activities. The extent of Parliamentary oversight over these bodies is not clear.
- Members of the NSRA may be removed without a judicial inquiry. The process differs from the procedure under other legislations.
- The NSRA’s orders can be appealed before an Appellate Authority, which is not a standing body. It is not clear how an appeal may be filed if the Appellate Authority is not constituted.
- The penalty for all offences under the Bill is the same. It is unclear whether the gravity of these offences is the same in all cases.