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How does the approval procedure work?

Transport and storage cask TN 85 Transport and storage cask TN 85Transport and storage cask TN 85 Source: Areva - TN International

The transport of radioactive material is subject to strict national and international provisions in order to ensure the protection of persons, property and the environment. This protection goal is mainly achieved by the concept of the "safe package", the package being the packaging with the radioactive contents.

This concept comprises different types of packages:

  • Excepted packages (e.g. for clinical reagents)
  • Industrial packages type IP-1, type IP-2 and type IP-3 (e.g. for radioactive waste)
  • Type A packages (e.g. for radiopharmaceutical products)
  • Type B packages (e.g. for spent fuel and high-activity radioactive sources)
  • Type C packages (for the transport of radioactive material with an activity exceeding a certain level transported by air)
  • Packages containing fissile material (e.g. for unirradiated fuel)

Safety-related requirements

There are different safety-related requirements on the packages, depending on the type and amount (risk potential) of the radioactive material to be transported. They range from general requirements on packages with very limited contents (excepted packages) up to “accident-proof” packages containing radioactive material with high activity (type B and type C). There are additional requirements on packages containing fissile material, to guarantee the criticality safety (that is the generation of a nuclear chain reaction is to be ruled out) during the transport.

Package design

Transport and storage cask CASTOR® HAW28M Transport and storage cask CASTOR® HAW28MTransport and storage cask CASTOR® HAW28M

The design characterises the exact description of the package, containing, among others,

  • Descriptions of contents and packaging,
  • Design drawings and
  • Material specifications

Proof of a package design fulfilling all safety-related requirements needs to be furnished in the package design safety report. One differentiates between package designs requiring competent authority approval and those not requiring competent authority approval.

High safety-related requirements exist on the transport of radioactive material representing an enhanced risk potential. The design of the packages for this material is subject to approval. Among them are type B and type C packages as well as packages containing fissile material. These approvals are granted by the Federal Office for Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE). BfE has taken over this task on 30. July 2016 from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) that had been responsible until then.

Designs of packages lower requirements are posed on due to the limited contents of radioactive material (e.g. type IP casks for waste with negligible heat generation) do not require competent authority approval. However, documented evidence proving the fulfilment of all safety-related requirements of the dangerous goods provisions to be applied must also exist for these designs.

State of 2018.06.06

© Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management