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From the Chairman’s Desk

   Dear Readers,
            Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our society has been witnessing

   unprecedented changes in almost all spheres of life. Our traditional ways of functioning have
   been challenged. Newer avenues are being explored leading to gradual acceptance of ‘New
   Normal’. Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) too has adapted to the changing times and
   started functioning following the extant government guidelines.

            AERB conducted its first ever virtual meeting of its Board during the lockdown period to review the
   commissioning activities of Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP) Unit-3 and its readiness for First Approach to
   Criticality (FAC). Based on the culmination of the safety review, the Board gave clearance for FAC to KAPP-3 on
   July 17, 2020 and subsequently KAPP-3 achieved first criticality on July 22, 2020. It was the first reactor in the
   world to achieve criticality during the COVID-19 times. I take this opportunity to place my heartfelt appreciation
   for the entire nuclear community for their dedication and unhindered commitment in spite of the several
   restrictions imposed on man and material movements during the lockdown.

            Three new AERB Safety Guides were published during the period. These have been made available on
   AERB’s Website. With regard to conduct of regulatory activities, while physical inspections continued to be
   deferred, AERB has started carrying out remote inspections to ensure continuity in regulatory oversight of AERB
   on nuclear and radiation facilities. Towards streamlining the regulatory interfaces, AERB participated in various
   Inter-Ministerial meetings.

            In 2015, AERB had hosted the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) Mission which is the peer
   review mission of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IRRS team reviews the functioning of the
   regulatory framework and processes followed in the host country. India is planning to host the follow-up IRRS
   Mission with extended scope in the coming year. For this purpose, the preparatory meeting was conducted during
   July 21-23, 2020 in virtual mode. The terms of reference for the extended follow-up mission were finalized during
   the preparatory meeting.

            While AERB has started using the virtual medium extensively for its regulatory activities, AERB is now
   exploring to use it for public awareness and safety promotional activities. In the coming days, AERB is planning to
   conduct webinars on selected topics. Details of such programmes are being worked out and will be announced
   shortly. We look forward to extensive participation of our stakeholders in these events.

            I wish all a happy and safe festive season.

2 Vol. 31, No.3, JULY-SEPTEMBER 2020
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