Updated Regulations for Shipping Radioactive Materials Proposed

Posted on 9/23/2022 by Roger Marks

On September 12, 2023, US DOT PHMSA proposed a rulemaking to align the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international requirements for transporting radioactive materials (Class 7).

The proposed rule would adopt changes contained in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards and make other amendments to the HMR.

What’s In the Proposed Rule?

The proposed rule would incorporate-by-reference newer consensus standards for radioactive materials and make other amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

The rule proposes to except certain shipments of Class 7 materials from the requirements for safety and security plans in 49 CFR, Subpart I.

To accomplish this, the rule would amend 173.401 to:

  • Expand the exception for natural material and ores containing naturally-occurring radionuclides; and
  • Add an exception for a person being transported for medical treatment because of contamination or an intake of radioactive material.  

Certain Class 7 materials are included on the list of shipment types that require the shipper to develop and follow a transportation security plan. The full list of shipments that require a security plan is found in 49 CFR 172.800. Shippers who are required to have a security plan must also train employees on their responsibilities under the plan (49 CFR 172.704(a)(5)).

PHMSA is also proposing to revise the definition of Surface Contaminated Object (SCO) to add “SCO-III.” SCO-III is meant for large solid objects that cannot be transported in a package—e.g., steam generators, reactor coolant pumps, pressurizers, etc.. The definition of SCO is found in 49 CFR 173.403.

Third, the regulations for package manufacturers in 49 CFR 173.410 would be revised to address aging of packagings used to ship Class 7 materials. The proposed rule would require that package manufacturers “consider the effects of aging during the design process.” This amendment would codify what is already a best practice for package engineers.

The proposed rule also includes revised provisions related to special provisions, hazmat shipping papers, marking requirements, new and clarified definitions, packagings and package test reports, approvals, temporary storage of Class 7 materials, and more.

US DOT PHMSA coordinated with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to draft the proposed rule.

Updated Regulations for Shipping Radioactive Materials Proposed

Final Lion Hazmat Workshops of 2022

Note: Lion’s hazardous materials training does not address issues specific to shipping radioactive materials (Class 7).

These upcoming workshops guide shippers through a step-by-step process to navigate and apply the US and international hazardous materials/dangerous goods regulations. Develop in-depth expertise needed to classify and name materials, package hazmat, mark and label packages, fill out shipping papers, and comply with DOT reporting and recordkeeping mandates.

Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification Workshop (DOT)
Hazmat Air Shipper Certification Workshop (IATA)
Chicago Oct. 5–7
St. Louis Oct. 19–21
Atlanta Oct. 26–28
Charlotte Nov. 9–10 (DOT only)
Philadelphia Dec. 7–9
Hartford Dec. 14–16

Browse more upcoming workshops, including training coming in 2023, at

Tags: Class 7, hazmat shipping, IAEA, radioactive materials

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