A 12-day International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission to review India's nuclear regulatory framework has come back with mixed results.
The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team noted in preliminary findings that India's plans to significantly increase nuclear power generation over the next decade pose challenges to the country.
The IRRS team identified good practices such as India's comprehensive and well-established national educational and training programme, and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board's R&D infrastructure, recruitment and training schemes.
But it recommended that the government should establish a nuclear safety and radioactive waste management policy and that it should embed the AERB's regulatory independence in law.
It also suggested that AERB should review existing arrangements to "ensure it maintains independence" in the performance of its regulatory functions.
In addition, the team said that the Indian regulator should consider increasing the frequency of routine nuclear plant inspections, and that it should develop and implement emergency arrangements, including detailed procedures required to fulfill its emergency response role.
A final mission report is due to be delivered to the Indian government, which invited the review, in the around three months.
S.S. Bajaj, chairman of the India Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, who received the IRRS draft report, said that AERB is "committed to pursuing the improvements suggested by the mission towards further strengthening the regulatory framework."