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Interpretation Response #06-0002 ([MHF Logistical Solutions] [Mr. Kurt Colborn])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: MHF Logistical Solutions

Individual Name: Mr. Kurt Colborn

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 6, 2008

 

Mr. Kurt Colborn

Director, Technical Services

MHF Logistical Solutions

800 Cranberry Woods Drive, Suite 450

Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Ref. No. 06-0002R

Dear Mr. Colborn:

This serves as a retraction of our June 30, 2006 (Ref. No. 06-0002) letter responding to your request for clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to Class 7 (radioactive) materials. Upon further review, we find our previous responses to your questions were incorrect. Your questions are paraphrased and answered below: We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Q1. You ask whether an empty packaging is considered contaminated if survey readings exceed the levels in the definition of contamination in § 173.403.

A1. The answer is yes. If the average survey reading over any contiguous area of 300 cm2 (or the total surface of the packaging if this is less than 300 cm2) exceeds one of the levels cited in the definition of contamination, the empty packaging would be considered contaminated. However, the presence of contamination does not necessarily imply that a material is subject to the HMR as a Class 7 hazard.

To determine the applicability of the HMR to an empty packaging with contamination on its surface, it must first be determined whether the total activity present exceeds the activity limit for an exempt consignment, as listed in § 173.436 or calculated in accordance with § 173.433. If the total activity is greater than the activity limit for an exempt consignment, the contaminated empty packaging would be subject to the HMR as a Class 7 hazard; otherwise it would not.

Q2. You ask whether an empty conveyance (e.g., a gondola railcar), or bulk packaging large enough to be a conveyance (e.g., an intermodal or cargo container) would be regulated under the HMR if the contamination levels are below the levels specified in § 173.443(c).

A2. See A1.

Q3. You ask whether an empty gondola railcar, used to transport packages of Class 7 (radioactive) materials would be regulated under the HMR if the contamination levels are below those levels specified in § 173.443(c).

A3. See A1.

Q4. You ask whether an empty gondola railcar used to transport Class 7 (radioactive) materials and having a liner serving as a contamination barrier would be regulated under the HMR if the contamination levels are below those specified by § 173.443(c).

A4. See A1.

 

Q5. You ask, for the purpose of choosing the appropriate contamination control limit, whether an intermodal or cargo container may be considered a conveyance, even if the containers are transported on a railcar for all or part of their transportation.

 

A5. The answer is yes. For transport by public highway or rail, the term "conveyance" as defined in § 173.403 includes any transport vehicle or large freight container.

 

Q6. You ask whether the contamination limits in § 173.443 apply to all conveyances, including those conveyances that are not used in "exclusive use" service.

 

A6. The answer is no. The contamination limits in § 173.443 apply to: (1) conveyances used as the packaging for Class 7 (radioactive) material; (2) transport vehicles in "exclusive use" service; and, (3) closed transport vehicles used solely for the transportation of Class 7 (radioactive) material by highway or rail.



Q7. You ask whether the shipper is responsible for complying with the contamination requirements for a "non-exclusive use" shipment. Additionally, you ask whether a post-shipment survey of conveyances used for "non-exclusive use" shipments is required.

 

A7. Compliance with the HMR is the responsibility of both the shipper and the carrier. The shipper is responsible for ensuring the package and conveyance meet the contamination limits prior to transportation. The carrier and shipper may both be responsible for ensuring compliance with the contamination limits specified in § 173.443 during transportation, based on the specific scenario. The HMR do not require post-shipment surveys of conveyances used for "non-exclusive use" shipments.

 

Q8. You ask whether contamination limits on the surface of a package, empty packaging, or conveyance are restricted to those limits specified in §§ 173.403 and 173.443.

 

A8. The definition of contamination in § 173.403 applies to a radioactive substance on a surface, including the surface of a package, empty packaging, or conveyance. The contamination limits in § 173.443 are upper contamination limits for packages and transport vehicles.

 

Q9. You ask whether a single measurement of contamination, performed with an appropriate instrument, may be conducted in lieu of separate measurements for fixed and non-fixed contamination.

 

A9. The answer will depend on the purpose and circumstances of the measurement. To determine whether contamination exists, in the sense of the definition of contamination in § 173.403, only the sum of the fixed and non-fixed contamination would be required, and it may be possible to determine the activity per unit area with a single survey meter. The application of the external package limits in § 173.443(a) refers only to non-fixed contamination; wipes may be used, or a survey instrument may suffice if the instrument shows that the sum of the fixed and non-fixed contamination is below those limits. Similarly, in determining whether 173.443(c) is satisfied, if a radiation survey instrument of appropriate sensitivity shows small enough readings, it may be possible to conclude that both the non-fixed contamination and the radiation level requirements for fixed contamination are met.



Q10. You ask whether the terms "general use" and "unrestricted release" regarding a conveyance that is below the contamination limits in § 173.443 means that the conveyance is no longer subject to the HMR.

 

A10. The terms "general use" and "unrestricted release" are not defined by the HMR. A conveyance that meets the definition of "radioactive material" in § 173.403 is regulated by the HMR as a Class 7 (radioactive) material.

 

I hope this information is helpful.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Betts

Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist

Office of Hazardous Materials, Standards

 

173.403 173.443

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.403 Definitions
173.443 Contamination control