Indian atomic regulator's first chief dies of Covid complications

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s (AERB) first Chairman, Dr A.K. De has passed away due to Covid-19 complications, his daughter said. He was 95.

The Chairman of the AERB between January 2, 1984 to March 19, 1990, De was also a former Director of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IITB).

“My father died on Friday after Covid-19 complications. The final rites were done yesterday (Saturday). I was fortunate to have come and see him,” De’s daughter Souravi Ghosh told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“Twice he was the Director of IITB (between July 1, 1974 to July 31, 1980 and December 9, 1981 to August 31, 1984),” she added.

Ghosh, who works in a multinational pharmaceutical company in Australia, said she had to get special permission to come to India.

De is survived by his daughter and son Tapas De.

Former AERB Chairman S.A. Bhardwaj told IANS: “As the first Chairman of AERB, he had done a wonderful job, building the institution from the scratch. On becoming AERB Chairman, I had gone and met him to get his blessings.”

According to AERB’s former Vice Chairman G.R. Srinivasan, setting up a regulatory body ground up was a difficult task and De did that wonderfully well. “He drew up the vision and mission for AERB and also the various norms and documents that nuclear power plants had to follow. His focus was on drawing up Indian documents and not taking from foreign regulatory norms,” Srinivasan told IANS. “De could be called as the father of AERB,” he added.