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Interpretation Response #09-0260 ([Regulatory Resources, Inc.] [Mr. Wade A. Winters])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Regulatory Resources, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Wade A. Winters

Location State: WA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 21, 2010

 

 

 

Mr. Wade A. Winters

Regulatory Resources, Inc.

240 Joshua Road

Kennewick, WA 99338



Ref. No. 09-0260

Dear Mr. Winters:

This responds to your November 6, 2009 letter concerning the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) classification requirements for Class 7 (radioactive) material. Specifically, you request clarification of the defining criteria for classification of Class 7 (radioactive) material as it applies to non-radioactive material that is radioactively contaminated. Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1: Is it permissible to be conservative and class and describe a material as Class 7 (radioactive) material even if the calculated activity per gram of the material does not meet the Class 7 defining criteria?

A1: No. Under § 171.8, the definition of a hazardous material includes material that meets defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in Part 173 of the HMR. It is the shipper's responsibility to properly class and describe a material in accordance with the defining criteria in the HMR (see § 173.22). No person may, by marking or otherwise, represent that a hazardous material is present in a package if the hazardous material is not present (see

§ 171.2(k)). While the shipper may take into account uncertainties in the measurements and calculation methods, there must be a high degree of confidence that the material is properly classified.

The scenario you describe with "SCO-like" material contained in a package along with "distributed throughout" material requires the shipper to determine whether the contents meet the definitions of surface contaminated object (SCO) and low specific activity material (LSA material) (see § 173.403). The activity per gram must be calculated solely for the "distributed throughout" material to determine whether it meets the definition of LSA material and the contamination levels on the "SCO-like" material must be examined to determine whether it meets the definition of SCO. It is not permissible to simply assume that all the material is LSA material.

Q2: If the material includes both "distributed throughout" and "SCO-like" materials, is it permissible to be conservative and class and describe the material as Class 7 (radioactive) material when the calculated activity per gram (Bq/g) of the material does not meet the Class 7 defining criteria and no data is available as to the surface contamination levels?

A2: No. If there is no data available on the surface contamination levels, it is not possible to classify the material as SCO. The activity per gram must be calculated solely for the "distributed throughout" material to determine whether it meets the definition of LSA material and the contamination levels on the "SCO-like" material must be examined to determine whether it meets the definition of SCO.

Q3: Is there any means, for being conservative, to describe a radioactively contaminated non-radioactive material as Class 7 (radioactive) material if no contamination data is available for the material and the calculated activity per gram indicates the material to be exempt (in accordance with § 173.436)?

A3: No. For the situation you describe, it is necessary to obtain data on the contamination levels to determine whether the material meets the definition of SCO. It is inappropriate to classify the material as Class 7 (radioactive) material without knowledge of the contamination levels.

In your letter, you also request clarification associated with guidance provided in the document "Categorizing and Transporting Low Specific Activity Materials and Surface Contaminated Objects," (NUREG-1608; July 1998) used for the characterization and identification of a mix of LSA and SCO materials. Your additional questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q4: A package contains potential LSA and SCO materials. The resulting total activity per mass does not exceed the LSA-II activity limit. However, the supporting characterization documents include the activity per gram based on the total weight of the matrix (and the "LSA-like" material weight is not separated from potential SCO materials). No data is available concerning the SCO contamination levels. As long as the total activity does not exceed one A2, is it permissible to describe, package and ship the material as LSA material?

A4: No. Data on the contamination levels must be obtained on the potential SCO materials to determine if they meet the definition of SCO. Furthermore, the mass of the contaminated objects must not be included in the calculation of the total activity per mass for comparison with the LSA-II material activity limit.

Q5: Is there ever a situation that will allow a Class 7 (radioactive) material to be described as LSA material when the matrix in the package includes "LSA-like" and potential SCO materials and no contamination data is available for the SCO materials content?

A5: No. See A4.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact this office.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Betts

Chief, Standards Development

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

171.8, 173.22 , 173.403

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.2 General requirements
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
173.22 Shipper's responsibility