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Who authorises transports of radioactive materials?

Pursuant to nuclear law (Atomic Energy Act, Radiation Protection Ordinance), a license is generally required for the transport of radioactive materials in Germany. One differentiates between "nuclear fuels" and "other radioactive materials".

"Nuclear fuels" are materials containing plutonium-239 or 241 or uranium enriched with the isotopes 235 or 233. "Other radioactive materials" are materials containing one or several radionuclides, insofar as they are no nuclear fuel.

Among others, articles 23 and 24 of the Atomic Energy Act regulate who grants licenses for transports of nuclear fuels and other radioactive materials:

License granted by the BfE

  • Transports of nuclear fuels, e.g. as the transport of fuel elements, are authorised by the Federal Office for Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE).
  • Transports of large sources (other radioactive materials with an activity above 1,000 terabecquerel) are authorised by the BfE.

License granted by other authorities

  • Transports of other radioactive materials (apart from large sources), e.g. transports of radio-pharmaceutical products,

    • are granted by the competent federal state authorities on behalf of the federal government for transports on roads and inland waterways as well as with not federally owned trains in train and shipping traffic.
    • are granted by the Federal Railway Authority for transports with federally owned trains in train and shipping traffic.

No license required (pursuant to Radiation Protection Ordinance)

  • Pursuant to para. 17 of the Radiation Protection Ordinance, no license is required for other radioactive materials (apart from large sources) which

    • are subject to special exemption regulations,
    • are transported in small amounts in so-called excepted packages,
    • in shipping traffic pursuant to the dangerous goods regulation for waterways (GGVSee) or
    • in air traffic (with a transport permit required pursuant to § 27 Air Traffic Act).

Transport license under traffic law

In special cases a transport license under dangerous goods regulations is required, e.g. for the transport of steam generators from nuclear power plants. This so-called transport license under traffic law is granted by the BfE.

State of 2018.12.11

© Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management