With reference to the Atomic Energy Commission, consider the following statements:
1. Atomic Energy Commission oversees the safety of all nuclear installations that have not been demarcated as military
2. Atomic Energy Commission is directly answerable only to the prime minister
Which among the above statements is / are correct?

Answer: [B] Only 2

(Excerpt from “The Power of Promise” by M V Ramana; Penguin UK)

The family of nuclear organizations in the country is headed by the Atomic Energy Commission. The AEC’s role is to formulate the policies and programmes and it is directly answerable only to the prime minister. The actual execution of these policies is carried out by the Department of Atomic Energy. The DAE is the equivalent of a government department but it turns to the AEC to clear all important programmes and projects, as well as its budget requests to the government. Once clearance has been obtained from the AEC, there is no need for separate approval from the ministry of finance.

The space programme has borrowed this structure, with the Department of Space and the Space Commission playing the roles of the DAE and the AEC respectively (N.G. Raj 2000, 286–87). The DAE has, in turn, set up a number of associated or subsidiary organizations. These include five research and development centres, five government-owned companies (‘public sector undertakings’), three industrial organizations and three service organizations (DAE 2010, Annex-I).

The R&D centres that are most relevant to the activities covered in this book are the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and the Atomic Mineral Directorate for Exploration and Research. The three most relevant government-owned companies are the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam and the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL). NPCIL is responsible for designing, constructing and operating the nuclear power plants within the first-stage nuclear power programme, that is, not breeder reactors. Breeder reactors are BHAVINI’s responsibility, and the UCIL is in charge of the mining and milling of uranium.

Industrial organizations include the Heavy Water Board (HWB)—in charge of the many plants that produce heavy water—and the Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), which manufactures fuel for the nuclear reactors. In addition to these is the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) which is supposed to oversee the safety of all nuclear installations that have not been demarcated as military. The latter category includes research reactors, reprocessing facilities and uranium enrichment plants.

The AERB also regulates other facilities in the country that involve radiation in some way, for example, medical facilities and educational laboratories that use radiation sources. Following the government’s introduction of the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill in Parliament in September 2011, AERB is to be replaced by the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module