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Radioactive Transportation

Radioactive Materials Packaging

Excepted PackageExcepted Package-A package used to transport materials with extremely low levels of radioactivity and would pose a very low hazard if released in accident. These packages are excluded from specific labeling and shipping paper requirements, although they must have the letters "UN" and the appropriate four-digit UN identification number located on the outside of the packaging. Materials typically shipped in these containers are consumer goods, such as smoke detectors. Industrial Package

Industrial Package-
A package used to transport low activity material and contaminated objects categorized as waste. Regulations require that these packages allow no identifiable release of material to environment during normal transport and handling. These packages are marked with appropriate category (IP-1, IP-2, or IP-3)

Type AType A Package-
A package used to transport material of a higher concentration than those shipped in industrial packages. These are typically constructed of a harder material with an inner containment vessel surrounded by packing materials. Material normally transported in these containers include radiophramaceuticals and radioactive sources for industrial applications. These packages are designed to resist moderate degrees of heat and cold, reduced air pressure, impact, water spray, penetration, stacking, and vibration, although they are not designed to withstand the forces of all accidents. A material release from this package type would be limited. Type A packages are only used to transport non life-endangering amounts of radioactive material.Type B

Type B Package-A package designed to transport material with the highest levels of radioactivity. These packages can range from radiography camera cases to large (125 ton) casks for transporting nuclear fuel. These packages must meet all Type A package requirements and successfully pass a series of sequential tests simulating worst-case accident conditions (free drop, puncture, thermal, and immersion). Life endangering amounts of radioactive material are transported in Type B packages.

Transportation Terminology

Fissile-Material whose atoms are capable of being split. These materials are limited in quantity on any one shipment. Packages used to transport these fissile materials are required to prevent fission from occurring during normal transportation and accident situations.

LSA-An acronym standing for low specific activity. These material have a limited amount of radioactivity in relationship to the total amount of material present. Examples are uranium ore or contaminated earth.

Special Form Radioactive Material-Material that is in a single solid piece or sealed capsule that can only be opened by destroying the capsule. This material is non-dispersable and does not present a contamination hazard during an accident. An example of a special form radioactive material is a radiography source.

SCO-An acronym standing for surface contaminated objects. This material is not radioactive itself, but has radioactive contamination deposited on it. Examples include equipment used in decommissioning or contaminated protective clothing.

Transportation Index (TI)-Single number used to provide control over radiation exposure. The TI is found on Yellow II and III labels and represents the maximum radiation level (mR/hr) at one meter (3.3 feet) from an undamaged package. Under normal transport conditions, the sum of all TIs in a single vehicle can not exceed 50.

Radiation Warning Labels

White IRadioactive White I-Packages with external contact radiation levels of 0.5 mR/hr or less.
Yellow II
Radioactive Yellow II-
Packages with external contact radiation levels of greater than 0.5 mR/hr to no more than 50 mR/hr. The maximum allowable tranport index for this label is 1.

Yellow IIIRadioactive Yellow III-Packages with external contact radiation levels of greater than 50 mR/hr to no more than 200 mR/hr. The maximum allowable transport index for this label is 10.Fissile

Fissile-Applied to packages that contain fissile materials.

Applied to packages that have been emptied of contents, but may contain regulated amounts of internal contamination and minimal radiation levels detectable outside of the package (less than 0.5 mR/hr)

International Air Transportation Association-Applied to packages shipped via aircraft. Dose rates at the surface of the shipping container must be less than 0.5 mR/hr.

Placarding Requirements

Radiation PlacardUN NumberVehicles carrying packages with Yellow III labels, highway route controlled quantaties of material, and exclusive use LSA/SCO shipments in excepted packages are required to placarded. Vehicles should have placards on the front, back, and both sides. These placards are to assist first responders to an accident in identifying possible hazards at the scene. Examples of placards could include a standard radioactive placard, a highway route controlled quantity placard, and a UN shipping number.

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

The WIPP is an permanent underground reposity for defense related transuranic radioactive waste located in Carlsbad, New Mexico and administered by the Department of Energy. WIPP opened in March of 1999 and began disposing of waste in a specifically designed salt mine 2150 feet under the New Mexico desert to isolate these potentially dangerous wastes from the environment. Transuranic waste that is to be disposed at WIPP is characterized at Department of Energy sites across the country and then transported via certain established corridors in Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified containers to Carlsbad. The disposed waste will be sealed in the mine as years pass and the natural salt slowly closes the disposal rooms, isolating the disposed waste from hazards.


Emergency Responder Radioactive Material Quick Reference Sheet (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Emergency Response Guidebook 2008 (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

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