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Multi-Modal Radioactive Shipping. Radioactive Material Production, Transportation, and Use. The creation, shipping, and use of radioactive material is highly regulated (IAEA, NRC, DOT, etc.). High activity sources can only be produced by sophisticated methods (e.g. reactors & accelerators).

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radioactive material production transportation and use
Radioactive Material Production, Transportation, and Use
  • The creation, shipping, and use of radioactive material is highly regulated (IAEA, NRC, DOT, etc.).
  • High activity sources can only be produced by sophisticated methods (e.g. reactors & accelerators).
  • High activity sources can only be obtained after special licensing to ensure their safe use and their security.
  • Similar regulations exist in other countries were radioactive materialis produced or used.
shielding requirements limit portability

Density sources:

  • typically 1.5 Ci to 2 Ci.
  • 120 Lbs
  • Large Densometer:
  • 55 mCi
  • 68 to 275 Lbs
  • Neutron sources:
  • 4 to 19 Ci
  • 130 to 200 Lbs
Shielding Requirements Limit Portability
  • For sources: the higher the activity, the more shielding you require to transport the source.
portable radiography sources
Portable Radiography Sources
  • “Top strength” industrial radiography sources can burn fingers and cause radiation sickness within a few minutes.
  • Effects drop off dramatically with distance. Outside of 3 meters, acute effects rare even after hours of exposure.
  • Sources are constructed to meet rigorous testing standards. A typical source is encapsulated in two (2) TIG welded Stainless Steel Capsules.
  • Source material itself is often metal (Cobalt or Iridium) or embedded on non-soluble ceramics or “microspheres” to prevent inhalation of radioactive material if the source encapsulation is breached.
high activity source transportation
High Activity Source Transportation

Containers that ship high activity sources are meant to withstand very punishing accident conditions.

conclusion radioactive material production transportation and use
High activity radioactive material is highly regulated.

Industrial sources are very robust and made not to leak.

When dangerous quantities are shipped, the material is put in a container capable of withstanding harsh accident conditions.

Very high activity industrial/medical sources are facility based and difficult to remove.

Conclusion:Radioactive Material Production, Transportation, and Use
how might high activity radioactive material be misused
How Might High Activity Radioactive Material beMisused?
  • Expose people to an external source of radiation.
  • Disperse radioactive material using conventional means.
  • Explosively Disperse radioactive material [a “Dirty Bomb”].
  • Create a Nuclear Weapon (this requires special nuclear material)
potential consequences of dispersal of radioactive material into
Potential consequences of dispersal of radioactive material into...

Facility ventilation systems

  • Inhalation (internal) dose hazard
  • Interruption of ‘normal life’
  • Expensive cleanup costs

Water supplies

  • High dilution
  • Individually significant doses would not likely result.
  • The general environment (“dirty bombs”, crop dusters, fire, sprayer, etc..)
    • Low likelihood of acute radiological effects
    • May require population shelter or evacuation
    • May be difficult to clean outdoor areas
what is a dirty bomb
  • A “Dirty Bomb” is conventional explosives combined with radioactive material with the intention of spreading the radioactive material over a relatively large area.
  • This is NOT a nuclear explosion, the radioactive material does not enhance the explosion.
  • Very few deaths would be expected from acute radiological exposure (the greatest hazard would likely be from the effects of the conventional explosives).
  • The contamination will hamper emergency response efforts and can delay hospital treatment.
  • Widespread contamination can deny the use of facilities and areas and have a significant psychological impact on the exposed population.
external exposures
External Exposures
  • Focused radiation or localized contamination can result in radiation effect to specific areas on the body
  • Whole body exposure can result from:
    • A passing radioactive cloud or smoke
    • A large, distant point source
    • Exposure from contamination deposited on the ground
internal exposures
Internal Exposures
  • Once radioactive material is deposited in the body, it can expose the person from within.
  • The magnitude of the dose will depend on many factors:
    • How much material was deposited,
    • how it got into the body (ingestion, inhalation, absorption, or injection),
    • chemical form of the radioactive material,
    • the radiation it produces,
    • how quickly it decays, and
    • how quickly the body eliminates the material.
the human factor
The Human Factor
  • Concerns about radiation and contamination often produce an exaggerated emotional response.
    • Can’t detect it with our 5 senses
    • Associated with cancer
    • Reminiscent of “cold war” fears
    • Science difficult to understand
    • Out of our control
  • Possible results may be…
    • Unexposed people saturating the medical community
    • Health and economic effects from long term anxiety or depression in the community
conclusion misuse of radioactive material
Conclusion:Misuse of Radioactive Material
  • High activity sources can cause health effects, but only to those in close proximity.
  • Acute health effects from distributed radioactive material unlikely without prolonged, high-concentration exposure.
  • Radiation or contamination will hinder response efforts.
  • Denial of facilities and areas will have a major cost effect
  • Public anxiety and its effects may be the primary lasting health effect.

Radioactive Material Dangerous Goods Transportation Training


  • Properly classify a package containing radioactive material
  • Properly label and mark a radioactive materials package for shipment
  • Properly prepare shipping documentation
  • Demonstrate your ability to complete a radioactive materials shipment
  • A1 and A2 values
  • Cargo Aircraft
  • Competent Authority
  • Consignee
  • Excepted Package
  • Radioactive Material
  • Special Form
package activity limits
Package Activity Limits
  • Excepted Packages
    • Materials (Limited Quantity)
    • Instruments and Articles - Item Limits
    • Instruments and Articles - Package Limits
  • Instrument and manufactured articles – clock, electronic tube, or apparatus having radioactive material as a component part
requirements for packages
Requirements for Packages
  • General Requirements
    • Easily and safely handled and transported
    • Strong lifting attachments
    • Free from protruding features
    • Surface will not retain water
    • Withstand effects of acceleration and vibration
    • Physically and chemically compatible components
    • Temperature range from -40o C to + 55oC
type a package
Type A Package
  • Meet General Package requirements
  • Smallest outside dimension >100 mm
  • Capability of installing a tamper proof seal
  • Forces on tie-down attachment must not damage package during transport
  • Temperature range -40oC to + 70oC
  • No loss or dispersal of material or a 20% increase in radiation level after water spray, free drop, stacking, and penetration tests.
empty packages
Empty Packages
  • Previously contained radioactive material
  • Well maintained and securely closed
  • No loose contamination
  • Any labels which may have been displayed are no longer visible

Shipping Labels

  • Transport Index < 0.05
  • Surface < 0.5 mr/hr

Shipping Labels

  • Transport Index <1.0
  • Surface <50 mr/hr

Shipping Labels

  • Transport Index <10
  • Surface <200 mr/hr




3.3 FEET



  • The radiation level in mr/hr at one meter from the package surface (gamma and neutron).


1.5 Ci.



50 FOR



18.5 Ci and

.5 Ci.

Maximum Transport Index For Total Number of Packages On One Vehicle

  • An enclosure that is used by a single consignor to provide protection or convenience in handling of a package or to consolidate two or more packages.
  • Packages of radioactive material may be combined in an overpack for transport.
  • Only the shipper is permitted to take a direct measurement of the radiation level to determine the TI.
special form
Special Form
  • Indispersible solid or sealed capsule which meets the following:
    • Capsule can only be opened by destroying it
    • Have one dimension not less than 5 mm
    • Design received unilateral approval
  • Demonstration of compliance with the standards can be done by performance, reference to previous tests, or calculations
special form31
Special Form
  • Subjected to impact test, percussion test, leaching test, volumetric leakage test, bending test, and heat test
  • Would not break or shatter under the impact, percussion or bending tests
  • Would not melt or disperse in the heat test
  • Would not leak
package markings
Package Markings
  • Readily visible and legible
  • “Type A” must be stamped or printed as required
  • Proper shipping name
  • UN Number
    • Excepted packages only require UN Number
  • Shipper and Consignee with addresses
  • Gross mass if exceeding 50 kg
marking of overpacks
Marking of Overpacks
  • Proper shipping name
  • UN number
  • All labels except for the “Type A” package label that are required on the inner package must be reproduced on the outside of the overpack
package markings34
Package Markings
  • Markings required by other international regulations are permitted
  • In addition to the languages of the State of Origin, English should be used.
  • Reportable Quantity (RQ) marked on package for shipments entering or leaving the US
additional package markings imdg
Additional Package Markings IMDG
  • Requires a shippers mark be placed on the package or overpack – initials of the company (ex: HES) at least 2 inches in height
  • Tracking number (ex: the RMA number) or other locally generated serial number
  • City of destination
  • Number of packages (ex: 1 of 1, 1 of 2)
package labeling
Package Labeling
  • Identification of primary hazard
  • Able to withstand open weather exposure
  • Two labels which conform to the appropriate category on two opposite sides of the package or on the outside of all four sides of the freight container
  • Labels must not be folded
  • Labels must not overlap
package labeling42
Package Labeling
  • Cargo Aircraft Only label for goods transported into or out of US
  • Category Labels must have
    • Contents – symbol of radionuclide – mixtures as space permits
    • Activity in Bq can have Ci in parentheses
    • Transport Index for category II and III
  • Four placards front, back and both sides
  • Required for Category III in US
  • May be required for all Category labels outside US – check local rules
  • Enlarged category labels may be used in place of placards
shippers declaration for dangerous goods sddg
Shippers Declaration for Dangerous Goods - SDDG
  • Two copies completed and signed
  • Proper shipping name
  • Class - Radioactive Material class 7
  • UN number
  • Number of Packages
  • Subsidiary risk
  • Indication of Passenger or Cargo-Only
  • Indication of Radioactive or Non-Radioactive
  • Special handling information
  • Indication if an overpack has been used
  • Full name and address of shipper and consignee
  • Airport or City of departure and destination
  • The words Radioactive Material if not contained in the shipping name
  • Name or symbol of Radionuclide(s)
  • Activity in Bq, may have Ci in parentheses
  • Description of physical and chemical or a notation that it is Special Form
  • Competent Authority Certificate mark
  • Category Label I, II, or III
  • For II and III Transport Index and package dimensions
  • Emergency contact information
  • SIGNATURE certifying shipment
air waybill
Air Waybill
  • Must contain a statement to indicate that dangerous goods are described on accompanying DGD
  • When applicable, indicate Cargo Aircraft Only or CAO
  • For Excepted Packages – in the Nature and Quantity of Goods box list proper shipping name with UN number
additional documentation
Additional Documentation
  • Competent Authority Certificates
  • Sealed Source Certificates
  • Current Leak Test Certificates
  • Emergency Response Guide
  • Locally required transportation documents
proper shipping names
Proper Shipping Names
  • Radioactive Material, Excepted Package, Limited Quantity of Material, UN2910
  • ‘Radioactive Material, Excepted Package, Instruments’ or ‘Radioactive Material, Excepted Package, Articles’, both UN2911
  • Radioactive Material, Excepted Package, Articles Manufactured From ‘Natural Uranium’, ‘Depleted Uranium’, or ‘Natural Thorium’ all UN2909
  • Radioactive Material, Excepted Package, Empty Packaging, UN2908
proper shipping names50
Proper Shipping Names
  • Radioactive Material, Type A Package, Non-Special Form, Non Fissile, UN2915
  • Radioactive Material, Type A Package, Special Form, Non Fissile, UN3332
  • “RQ” indicated on the declaration when required
  • RQ, Radioactive Material, Type A Package, Special Form, Non Fissile, UN3332
Unit Conversions for your reference
  • IATA/ICAO Radioactive Checklist
    • Latest revision contained in back of IATA manual
    • Contained on Radiation Safety Transportation web page
    • Recommend completing for each shipment since the air carrier will be using one also to check you.
example 1
Example 1
  • Isotope Co-57, Special Form
  • Competent Authority Cert USA/0356/S
  • 111 MBq, 3 mCi
  • 1.3 kg, 3 lb
  • Package box, Type A, 10X8X4 inches
  • Surface dose rate = 0.4 mR/hr
  • Dose rate at 1 meter = 40 uR/hr
  • Shipped from US to Aberdeen
  • Source Serial Number 740-DD


Co-57, 111 MBq (3 mCi),one Type A Package

Radioactive Material,Type A Package, Special Form, Non Fissile or FissileExcepted







Security Seal 33456



111 MBq (3 mCi)


2 of each label on opposite sides

To: HES Aberdeen


example 2
Example 2
  • Isotope Cs-137, Special Form, USA/0508/S
  • 12 mCi, 444 MBq
  • Source DB-032, Densometer V3C-120
  • Type A Package placed in an Overpack
  • Overpack 30X30X90 cm
  • Weight 68 lbs, 30.8 kg
  • Radiation levels on contact = 18 mR/hr at 1 meter = 0.5 mR/hr
  • Ship from USA to France


Cs-137, 444 MBq (12 mCi),one Type A Package

Radioactive Material,Type A Package, Special Form, Non Fissile









X90 cm

Overpack Used

DB-032, Densometer V3C-120

Security Seal 33456



444 M

12 m



Radioactive Material, Type A Package, Special Form, Non Fissile, UN 3332

2 of each label on opposite sides

To: France

From: Duncan USA

Inner Packages Comply With Prescribed Specifications

Emergency Contact Information

example 3
Example 3
  • Isotope Am241Be, 684.5 GBq, 18.5 Ci
  • Special Form, GB/223/S-85
  • Type A Package, 120X120X120 cm
  • 91kg, 200 lbs
  • Radiation levels on contact = 60 mR/hr neutron and 27 mR/hr gamma. At 1 meter = 7 mR/hr neutron and 1 mR/hr gamma
  • Shipping from Nigeria to Mexico
  • Source Serial Number SW-2240


Am241Be, 684.5 GBq (18.5 Ci),one Type A Package

Radioactive Material,Type A Package, Special Form, Non Fissile or Fissile Excepted









X120 cm


Security Seal 33456



684.5 GBq (18.5 Ci)



To: Mexico

From: Nigeria

2 of each label on opposite sides

Weight: 91 kg (200 lb)