Sri Lanka's involvement with Nuclear Science and Technology began in 1957 when it became a founder member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.  This was followed by the establishment of the Radioisotope Centre of the University of Colombo in 1962 and the establishment of the Atomic Energy Authority in 1970 by the Atomic Energy Authority Act no. 19 of 1969.  The Atomic Energy Authority Act delegated two main responsibilities to the AEA, namely, promotion of the utilization of nuclear technology for the benefit of the people of Sri Lanka, and protection of workers engaged in using radiation and radioisotopes and the public from harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Until 2014, the Atomic Energy Authority functioned as the national regulatory authority on use of radiation and radioisotopes, the national organization responsible for facilitating the use of nuclear technology in medical, industrial and agricultural sectors and as the focal point of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Sri Lanka.  As a result of the expansion of activities involving the utilization of nuclear technology in Sri Lanka following the construction of a new building for the AEA with laboratory facilities, the need for an independent regulatory was realized.

 

 

The Atomic Energy Authority Building constructed in 2001

 

The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Act No. 40 of 2014 enacted in October 2014 created two new organizations, namely the Atomic Energy Regulatory Council (AERC) and the Atomic Energy Board (AEB).  This Act of Parliament delegates the responsibility of developing and implementing a regulatory regime to ensure the protection of personnel and the environment in the use of nuclear technology for beneficial uses to the AERC and the responsibility of facilitating the use of nuclear technology to the AEB.   With the formation of the AERC and the AEB the AEA ceased to exist.

The AERC came into existence on the 1stof January 2015. It has the responsibility of establishing and implementing a regulatory regime in order to ensure the protection of personnel and the environment from potentially harmful effects of radiation.  The fulfillment of the mandate of Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Act No. 40 of 2014 requires the establishment of a licensing and an inspection system for all users of radiation and radioisotopes, control of import and export of radioactive materials, management of radioactive waste, ensuring physical protection of radioactive materials, developing the capability to respond to nuclear or a radiological emergency, meeting the obligations of Sri Lanka under the Safeguards agreement with the IAEA and the establishment of the legislative and regulatory framework necessary for the above.