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World Nuclear Transport Institute


Each day thousands of shipments of radioactive materials of all kinds are transported on international and national routes. These consignments, which are carried by road, rail, sea, air and inland waterway can range from smoke detectors, and cobalt sources for medical uses, to nuclear fuel cycle materials for electricity generation.
The international transport of radioactive materials is governed by a stringent regulatory regime, which includes standards, codes and regulations which have been continuously revised and updated over the past four decades.

The IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material

The IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material set the basis for nuclear fuel cycle transport.

The IAEA Regulations are based on the fundamental principle that radioactive material being transported should be packaged adequately to provide protection against the various hazards of the material under both normal and potential accident conditions. Safety, therefore, relies on the package - on the packaging adapted to its radioactive contents, whatever the transport mode.

Because safety depends primarily on the package, the Regulations set out several performance standards in this area. They provide for five different primary packages, (Excepted, Industrial, Type A, Type B and Type C) and set the criteria for their design according to both the activity and the physical form of the radioactive material they may contain. The IAEA Regulations lay down corresponding test procedures to demonstrate compliance with the required performance standards.

"Over several decades of transport, there has never been an in-transit accident with serious human health, economic or environmental consequences attributable to the radioactive nature of the goods." 
IAEA International Conference on the Safety of Transport of Radioactive Material, Vienna, 2003.

International and regional modal regulations or agreements

The provisions of the IAEA Regulations are not only reflected in the national requirements of Member States, but also in the regulation relative to each mode of transport as issued by international or regional bodies.

Safety Regulations for the Transport of Radioactive material:

Mode of Transport International / Regional Organisation Name of Regulation / Agreements / Codes Scope
All IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of radioactive Material SSR-6 Worldwide
All UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods Worldwide
Sea IMO International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) Worldwide
Sea IMO International Code for the Safe Carriage of Packaged Irradiated Nuclear Fuel Plutonium and High-Level Radioactive Wastes on Board Ships (INF Code) Worldwide
Air ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (TI) Worldwide
Air IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) Worldwide
Road UN/ECE European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) Regional
Road and rail MERCOSUR/MERCOSUL Agreement of Partial Reach to Facilitate the Transport of Dangerous Goods Regional
Inland waterways UN/ECE & CCNR European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN) Regional
Post UPU Universal Postal Convention and its detailed regulations Worldwide

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