Argonne National Laboratory
Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
Nuclear Science and Engineering Division at Argonne
U.S. Department of Energy

IAEA / USA Interregional Training Course


Research Reactor Spent Fuel Shipment Course

January 14, 1997 

Richard R. Rawl

Transport Safety Unit
IAEA Div. Of Radiation and Waste Safety

Purpose of this Presentation
  • Provide an overview of the various transport safety regulatory bodies
  • Provide an overview of the transport regulations applicable to spent research reactor fuel shipments
  • Provide information on resources available to assist shippers and Competent Authorities

Transport of Radioactive Material Means the Carriage of Radioisotopes for
  • Industry
  • Medicine
  • Research
  • Movement of radioactive waste
  • Shipment of nuclear fuel cycle materials

There are Between 18 and 38 Million Radioactive Material Shipments per Year

The International Atomic Energy Agency

Has worked to establish regulatory standards since the 1950’s, publishing Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material in 1961. Regulations and guidance are furnished in the IAEA Safety Series.

History and Development of the Basic Documents
  • Transport of radioactive material began in the early 1990s
  • Need for transport regulations identified in early 1950s
  • Sources: science, medicine, and energy
  • Safety Series 6 published in 1961
  • It is recommended "to Member States and to international organizations concerned as a basis for national and international transport regulations"
  • Published in English, French, Russian, and Spanish

Safety Series 6 Revisions
  • 1964
  • 1967
  • 1973
  • 1973 Revised Edition (As Amended) 1979
  • Review begun in 1979 led to comprehensive revision in 1985
  • 1985 Edition (As Amended) 1990
  • 1996 Edition, to be published in 1997

Philosophy of the Regulations
  • Radioactive material must be adequately packaged to ensure safety
  • Under all conditions of transport, including accidents
  • The consignor ensures packaging is adequate
  • Actions by the carrier to ensure radiological safety are minimized

Regulations Guard Against
  • Dispersion of radioactive material and possible uptake by
  •     -ensuring containment is adequate
  •     -consideration of the design and strength of packaging
  •     -limiting the activity and nature of the contents
  • Radiation hazard from package by…
  • incorporation of shielding
  • -warning of radiation levels on package exterior via labeling and marking
  • -limiting external dose rates
  • -stowage requirements
  • Criticality accidents by…
  • controlling configuration of package and contents
  • very conservative analysis assumptions
  • design and use of transport index
  • High temperature hazards and package degradation from heat by…
  • use of proper design to limit temperature
  • control over stowage for safe heat dissipation

Philosophy within the Regulations
  • Packages of radioactive material controlled in same way as other hazardous goods
  • Safety dependent on package not operational controls
  • Consignor is responsible party for safety during transport

Safety Series No. 7

Explanatory Material for the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material

  • Explain provisions of SS 6…why they exist
  • Provide rationale behind them
  • Assist comprehension of standards
  • Promote compliance, public acceptance, and development of the Regulation

Safety Series No. 37

Advisory Material for the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material

  • Describe methods, techniques, and practices for satisfying certain requirements
  • Provide guidance for achieving compliance: "A way, not THE way"
  • Advisory only, never mandatory

Safety Series No. 80

Schedule of Requirements for the Transport of Specified Types of Radioactive Material Consignments

  • Provided as an aid to users of Regulations
  • Collects and summarizes all basic Regulatory provisions relating to specific consignments
  • Helps an infrequent user ensure full and accurate compliance

Safety Series No. 80
  • Format is focused on useful operational matter
  • Does not have status of a regulation such as SS 6
  • SS 6 provisions always take precedence
  • Schedules are simply a summary of the main provisions for each specified type of consignment

  • ECOSOC entrusts IAEA with radioactive material recommendations
  • Orange Book and SS 6 have developed on a consistent basis with full compatibility
  • Orange Book deals with radioactive material mainly by referring to the IAEA Regulations

United Nations Hazard Classes
  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable liquids
  • Class 4: Flammable solids
  • Class 5: Oxidizers
  • Class 6: Poisonous (toxic)
  • Class 7: Radioactive material
  • Class 8: Corrosives
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances

International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • Maritime community’s forum for matters of safety in shipping
  • Hazardous material regulated through its International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code
  • This is part of the Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

Development of the IMDG Code
  • SOLAS 1960 recommended uniform international code covering
  • Packaging
  • Container traffic and stowage
  • Segregation of incompatible substances
  • Maritime Safety Committee Working Group on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods developed the IMDG
  • Adopted by IMO in 1965
  • Provisions affect
  • manufacturers
  • packers
  • shippers
  • forwarders
  • carriers
  • Routinely updated
  • Applied by 86% of world’s gross tonnage

Class 7 - Radioactive Material
  • Provisions of IMDG Code based on principles of IAEA Regulations
  • Guidance is offered for handlers and transporters
  • Packing, labeling and placarding, stowage and segregation very with radioactivity of material (White I, Yellow II, Yellow III)

Further IMO Related Topics
  • Packing guidelines
  • Handling dangerous goods in ports
  • Technical assistance
  • Training

International Regulations Concerning the Carriage
of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID)
  • Rail not covered by organization on world-wide basis
  • European International Convention concerning the Carriage of Goods by Rail (CIM) adopted in 1890
  • Dangerous goods may be transported if conditions in Annex I to CIM are met
  • RID currently reflects UN guidance in classifications
  • IAEA Regulations have been adopted

European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage
of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)
  • UN establishes regional Economic Commissions
  • Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) established Inland Transport Committee (ITC)
  • ITC adopted the ADR in 1968
  • IAEA regulations were adopted with respect to transport of Class 7 substances under the ADR

Consignment, Consignor, Consignee,
Carrier, and Conveyance
  • Consignment: Package of radioactive material
  • Consignor: Party presenting the consignment
  • Consignee: Agent receiving consignment
  • Carrier: Party carrying the consignment
  • Conveyance: Vehicle carrying consignment

Competent Authority

National or international authority that is designated as such…often the state authority regulating transport of radioactive material

Special Arrangement

Provisions which allow for shipment of consignments that otherwise would not meet all of the applicable regulations

Exclusive Use
  • Means that the consignor has direct control of a shipment
  • Transport regulations generally less restrictive
  • Single consignor has sole use of conveyance
  • Loading and unloading carried out in accordance with directions of consignor or consignee

Fissile Material is Defined as…
  • U-233, U-235, Pu-238, Pu-239, Pu-241, or any combination of these

Note: unirradiated natural uranium and depleted uranium or natural uranium and depleted uranium irradiated in thermal reactors only are not included in this definition


Assembly of components necessary to enclose the radioactive material, including:

  • Absorbent materials

  • Spacing structures
  • Shielding
  • Service equipment
  • Shock absorbing devices
  • Insulation
  • Handling and tie-downs

Type A Packages

Transport a small but significant quantity of radioactive material. Designed to contain contents during

  • A1 quantity special form radioactive material
  • A2 quantity normal form
  • Testing includes drop test, puncture test, moisture test, and stacking test

Type B Packages

Capable of withstanding most accidents preventing breach of containment or significant increase in dose. Extremely rigorous design and testing.

  • Cumulative thermal
  • Any quantity may be transported
  • Direct regulatory approval

Transport Index (TI)

A number assigned to a package which is used to provide control over groups of packages for reducing:

  • Nuclear criticality hazard
  • Radiation exposure risks

For many packages, TI is equal to 100 times the dose rate in mSv/h at a distance of 1 m

TI for fissile material packages determined by criticality considerations

First determine the packaging type, then use Safety Series 80 schedules

To Select Package Type, need to know:




Material Type

Package Selection
  • What radionuclides are being shipping?
  • What quantity of radioactive material is to be shipped?

This information now enables an A1 or A2 value to be determined and the quantity being shipped to be compared to this

  • What is the nature of the radioactive material being shipped?
  • is it incorporated in instruments or articles?
  • does it mean the criteria for LSA or SCO?
  • is it fissile material?

At this point there should be enough information to determine the type of packaging required

Packaging Type
  • Type A if not, and if quantity <= Type A1 or A2 value
  • If > Type A quantities, shipment if Type B
  • Additional requirements if fissile material

Safety Series 80 Schedules

At this point enough information should be available to determine the type of shipment and to take advantage of the schedules in SS 80

Following the Appropriate Schedule
  • Ensures Regulations are met
  • leads consignor through packaging requirements
  • Identifies maximum dose rates
  • Identifies maximum contamination levels

…and Ensures Consideration of
  • Decontamination of conveyances
  • Mixed package contents
  • Mixed loading of conveyances
  • Correct marking, labeling, and placarding
  • Requirements for documentation, storage, dispatch, and carriage of package

In Addition to the Regulations
  • Consignors must be aware of any requirement of the government of any state through, or into which, the package will be transported

No Standard Exists but Import
Requirements May Relate to…
  • Licenses, certifications, declarations, and notifications
  • Protection from ionizing radiation
  • Safeguards and movement of nuclear and other strategic materials
  • Special insurance requirements

Primary Responsibility For Safety is on the Consignor

Carrier’s responsibility is thereby minimized

The Consignor Must Provide
  • Adequate packaging, correct labeling, TI, marking, and placarding
  • Complete, correct, and available transport documents
  • Statements dictating any required actions by the carrier
  • Formal declaration, signed and dated, that regulations are satisfied
  • Directions for control of exclusive use shipments
  • Advance notification to Competent Authority of some consignments
  • copies of Competent Authority certificates to self, carrier, and Competent Authority
  • QA assurance that regulations are being met
  • Facilities for inspections of certain packages during use and construction

Notification Prior to Shipment is Required
in Some Circumstances
  • Shipments of packages approved under special arrangement
  • Type B packages containing more than certain quantities of activity
  • Type B packages with multi-lateral approval

Packages Containing Fissile Material
  • Special controls reflecting fissile nature of radioactive contents
  • Also meet other requirements for Type A or Type B, as appropriate

Shipping Documents
  • Provide awareness of presence of radioactive material
  • Must accompany the shipment and include
  • shipping name
  • hazard class number, 7 as specified by UN
  • hazard class number if not included in shipping name
  • UN number
  • radionuclides in packages
  • total activity of radioactive content
  • category of label on the package
  • physical and chemical form of material, identification as special form
  • category of package
  • other pertinent information

  • Identify packages that contain radioactive material
  • Used to guide storage and handling practices, and control radiation exposure by carriers
  • Identify contents in the event of accident or damage
  • Category I - White:
  • surface <= 0.005 mSv/h
  • TI = 0
  • Category II - Yellow:
  • surface <= 0.5 mSv/h
  • TI <=1
  • Category III - Yellow:
  • surface <=2 mSv/h
  • TI <= 10

Markings on Package Include
  • Gross weight if more than 50 kg
  • Package design type: Type A, Type B (U), or Type B (M)
  • Identification markings assigned by Competent Authority
  • Serial number
  • Type B packages need fire- and water-resistant marking including trefoil

  • Placards on vehicles, rail cars, freight containers, and tanks indicate the presence of radioactive material
  • Requirements vary
  • Additional placards needed for other hazardous properties of the material

Fissile Material Package Design  Requirements…
  • Must comply with regulations relating to radioactive nature and form (LSA, SCO, Type A, etc.)
  • Safety still assured through packaging and consignor compliance
  • Carrier controls not of primary importance
  • Subcriticality of each package and each consignment must be ensured
  • TI determined by criticality assessment and used to control criticality and radiation exposure

Pre-shipment Control Checks
  • Effectiveness of shielding and containment
  • Presence and distribution of neutron poisons
  • Checked before first shipment of fissile material in package
  • Compliance checks are performed prior to each use to ensure that requirements in the approval certificate are met

Transport Index (TI)
  • A single number assigned to a package, overpack, tank, or freight container or to unpackaged LSA-1 or SCO-1, used to provide control over criticality safety and radiation exposure

TI is Also Used to Establish
  • Content limits on packages, overpacks, tanks, or freight containers
  • Categories for labeling
  • Necessity of exclusive use shipment
  • Spacing requirements during storage/transit
  • Mixing restrictions during transport/storage under special arrangements
  • Number of packages in freight container or conveyance

Determination of Transport Index
  • The larger of the TI for radiation exposure and the TI for criticality control (= 50/N)
  • If N is large, say 500, TI is taken to be 0
  • Radiation exposure TI is rounded to 0 if it is equal or less than 0.05
  • Example…              TI = ?

Marking, Labels, and Placards
  • Marking as usual, except Competent Authority ID mark has an "F" in it
  • Label for fissile materials determined by TI and surface does rates as usual
  • Other labeling and placarding requirements are as normal

Transport Documents
  • Documentation requirements are as usual
  • Proper shipping name will have the word "Fissile" in it somewhere
  • Or the words "Fissile Excepted"

Limits on TI During Transport
  • TI limited to 10 except under exclusive use
  • Overpack must not contain packages of fissile material with TI > 0
  • For road, rail, and inland waterways, TI is limited to 50

Maximum TI ???

  • For sea transport, TI = 50 for each hold, 200 for vessel
  • no more than 50 TI per group
  • groups separated by at least 6 m
  • Under exclusive use, TI limit is 100 per group

  • Non-expected fissile material packages require multi-lateral Competent Authority approval
  • Approval required for exclusive use shipments with sum of TIs > 50
  • Shipments under special arrangements require multi-lateral approval

Information on Approval Certificates
  • Detailed description of authorized contents
  • Value of TI for nuclear criticality control
  • Any special features on basis of which water assumed not to fill voids
  • Any determination in which credit has been taken for burn-up in the criticality assessment

Physical Protection
  • Security arrangements needed to protect against:
  • malicious interference
  • sabotage
  • theft
  • Many security requirements are similar to those needed for safety
  • Graded physical security based on level if perceived hazards

  • Safeguards requires measures for
  • licensing
  • verification of dispatch and receipt
  • transport documentation
  • sealing of package
  • inspections

When it is not possible to demonstrate that a package complies with the Regulations, the package can only be used under a special arrangement approved by the National Competent Authority

Responsibilities for Compliance are Assigned to
  • Consignor
  • Carrier
  • Competent Authority

Roles of the Consignor and Carrier
  • Ensure correct packaging used for each shipment
  • Ensure required pre-shipment measures are taken
  • Accurately complete transport documents
  • Properly label, mark, and placard packages and shipment
  • Ensure packages are properly handled, stowed, and segregated
  • Package/vehicle radiation and contamination levels are within limits
  • Emergency response instructions and schedules are available and made known to cognizant individuals
  • Quality assurance program covering all items is in existence and operational

Role of the Competent Authority
  • Ensure compliance in each of these areas
  • Furnish necessary support for regulatory safety requirements
  • Ensure requirements are properly carried out

Prior Consultation Between Applicant and Competent Authority
  • Promotes good mutual understanding
  • Avoids costs and delays by reducing omissions
  • Makes the assessment much easier because regulator is involved from the beginning

QA Now Covers All Areas of Radioactive Material Transport
  • Concept
  • Design
  • Prototype
  • Testing
  • Manufacture
  • Consignor
  • Carrier
  • User
  • Servicing
  • Maintenance
  • Modification
  • Disposal

Good Quality Assurance
Radioactive Material Transport Safer

Compliance Assurance

"…a systematic programme of measures applied by a Competent Authority which is aimed at ensuring that the provisions of the Regulations are met in practice."

Safety Series 6, paragraph 117

Much detail on compliance assurance can be found in Safety Series No. 112: "Compliance Assurance for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material".

Competent Authority Package Approval Certificates - PACKTRAM
  • Database for packages and shipments transported internationally or outside of country of origin
  • Annual report
  • Updated data files to registered users
  • About 1000 packages on database

Other IAEA Information Services
  • HyperTrans!
  • List of National Competent Authorities
  • Public Information Brochure

Features of HyperTrans!
  • Text of SS 6 linked to explanatory & advisory material
  • Follow topics connected by links
  • Search
  • Create, store, and retrieve reader notes
  • Print out selected text

List of National Competent Authorities
  • Published annually since 1967
  • Information updated by member states
  • Designated authorities for transport
  • Scope of responsibility
  • Official name
  • Street and mailing address
  • Telephone, fax, and telex

Public Information Brochure
  • Philosophy of Regulations
  • History of development
  • Package types and performance requirements
  • Information services of IAEA
  • Issues of current interest
  • English, French, Russian, and Spanish

Shipments into the USA must comply with Title 49 CFR
  • Full compliance with 49 CRF Parts 100 to 177, or
  • Import shipments by sea in accordance with 49 CRF 171.12 and IMDG Code, or
  • Canadian shipments in accordance with 49 CFR 171.12a
  • 171.12 and 171.12a require compliance with IAEA regulations

If the IAEA Can be of Assistance

Transport Safety Unit
Division of Radiation and Waste Safety
P.O. Box 100
A-1400 Vienna, Austria
tel: 0043 1 2060 21260
fax: 0043 1 20607

2016 RERTR Meeting

The 2016 International RERTR Meeting (RERTR-2016) will take place in Belgium. Stay tuned for further details.

2015 RERTR Meeting

The 2015 International RERTR Meeting (RERTR-2015) took place in Seoul, Korea on Oct. 11-14, 2015.
For more information visit RERTR-2015.

Useful Links


ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY, Nuclear Engineering Division, RERTR Department
9700 South Cass Ave., Argonne, IL 60439-4814
A U.S. Department of Energy laboratory managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC

Last modified on July 29, 2008 11:34 +0200