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Interpretation Response #06-0274 ([HMTC Training & Consulting] [Mr. Philip C. Rieke])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: HMTC Training & Consulting

Individual Name: Mr. Philip C. Rieke

Location State: WA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 6, 2008

 

 

Mr. Philip C. Rieke

Owner

HMTC Training & Consulting

7109 West Wernett Road

Pasco, WA 99301

Ref. No.: 06-0274

Dear Mr. Rieke:

This is in response to your December 5, 2006 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to Class 7 (radioactive) materials. Your questions are paraphrased and answered below:

Q1. If a non-hazardous solid object has a contamination level equal to or greater than the definition of "contamination" in § 173.403, but the total activity in the package is below the consignment limit in § 173.436, may the package be shipped as a non-regulated material?

A1. The answer is yes. A solid object which is not radioactive that has contamination on its surface is not a "surface contaminated object (SCO)" unless it meets the definition of SCO in §173.403. In accordance with § 173.403, an SCO is defined as a solid object which is not itself radioactive but which has radioactive material distributed on its surface. Therefore, if the total consignment activity does not exceed the value specified in the table in § 173.436 or the value derived according to the instructions in § 173.433, it would not be regulated as a Class 7 (radioactive) material in transport. (The concept of (volume) activity concentration is not applicable to a surface distribution of radionuclides.)

Q2. Would a packaging that previously had a radioactive contamination level equal to or greater than the definition of "contamination" in § 173.403, but did not meet the definition of a "Class 7 (radioactive) material," be regulated if it were used, without being decontaminated, to package a radioactive mixture (e.g., soil matrix) which does not meet the § 173.403 definition of a "radioactive material?"

A2. If the activity concentration of the mixture is not greater than its exempt activity concentration, then the package would not be regulated as a Class 7 (radioactive) material, since the only activity concentration that can be compared to the exempt activity concentration is that of the mixture. The concept of (volume) activity concentration is not applicable to the surface distribution of radionuclides on the packaging.

If the activity concentration is greater than the exempt activity concentration but the total activity of the mixture is not greater than the exempt consignment activity, the total activity of the surface distribution of radionuclides on the packaging must be added to the total activity of the mixture. If the sum of these activities is greater than the exempt consignment limit, the package would be regulated as a Class 7 (radioactive) material. If the sum of these activities is less than the exempt consignment limit, and the package is the only package in the consignment, it would not be regulated as a Class 7 (radioactive) material. Finally, if the package and contents meet the definition of a Class 7 (radioactive) material, any contamination on the external surfaces of the package must satisfy as applicable, the requirements of

§ 173.443(a) or § 173.443(b) during transport.

Please note that the above response is based on an assumption that the radioactive contamination on the packaging has not been removed or otherwise altered before the radioactive mixture is placed in the packaging.

Q3. Is it acceptable to transport a hazardous material in a package more stringent than required (e.g., placing a Packing group III material in a specification packaging rated for Packing group I materials; shipping limited quantity radioactive materials in a Type A packaging; or shipping Type A quantities in Type B packagings)?

A3. The answer is yes. It is acceptable to package and transport a hazardous material in a more stringent package than required (e.g., a Packing Group I packaging may be used for a Packing Group II or III material and a Type B packaging may be used for a Type A quantity of material provided all of the performance criteria of the packaging can be met). Section 173.24a contains general requirements for packaging material in containers rated for higher hazard materials.

Q4. If the answer to Q3 is yes, would shippers of Class 7 (radioactive) materials be required to change any specification package markings when using a packaging that is rated higher than that required for the material?

A4. The answer is no, provided the basic description is consistent with the specification markings of the higher rated packaging. Alternatively, if a shipper chooses to use the basic description based on the actual contents, the packaging markings should be changed for consistency.





Q5. When shipping Class 7 (radioactive) materials, does the proper shipping name have to match up with the packaging or the contents?

A5. See A4.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Betts

Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist

Office of Hazardous Materials, Standards

173.403 173.436

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.403 Definitions
173.436 Exempt material activity concentrations and exempt consignment activity limits for radionuclides