USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #10-0202 ([Office of Packaging and Transportation, and Office of Environmental Management] [Mr. Stephen O"Connor])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Office of Packaging and Transportation, and Office of Environmental Management

Individual Name: Mr. Stephen O"Connor

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 12, 2010




Mr. Stephen O"Connor

Director, Office of Packaging and Transportation,

and Office of Environmental Management

1000 Independence Avenue, SW

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington, DC 20595

Reference No. 10-0202

Dear Mr. O"Connor:

Thank you for your September 15, 2010 letter concerning a final rule we issued under Docket No. PHMSA-06-25736 (HM-231; 2/2/2010) entitled "Hazardous Materials; Miscellaneous Packaging Amendments" that is scheduled to become effective on October 1, 2010. The rule revises the definition for a bulk packaging under § 171.8 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) by removing the phrase "no intermediate form of containment." You ask us to reinstate this phrase, stating its removal will adversely impact the transportation of radioactive material and radioactive waste packagings by causing them to be considered bulk packagings that require additional hazard communication.

On September 30, 2010, we are publishing a final rule in the Federal Register under this docket that makes several editorial corrections and responds to one petition for reconsideration and four appeals we received in response to the February 2 final rule. The petitioner and two appellants requested that we reinstate the phrase "no intermediate form of containment" to the bulk packaging definition prescribed in § 171.8. We reinstated this phrase in the September 30 final rule, which becomes effective on October 1, 2010.

You also ask that PHMSA consider adverse impacts that may occur as the result of future regulatory changes to the bulk packaging definition and other matters affecting the safe transportation of radioactive materials in a proposed future rulemaking to harmonize the HMR"s transport requirements for radioactive materials with the requirements in the 2005 edition of the International Atomic Energy Agency"s Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (IAEA Regulations). In addition, you ask that PHMSA include the DOE in a timely manner in the interagency review process for all future rulemakings involving DOE activities.

In developing a regulatory proposal, PHMSA attempts to obtain helpful information from various sources, including on occasion entities that may be subject to and affected by the HMR. On a case by case basis, we will consider your request to provide information in a future regulatory rulemaking action. Please note we received and considered your agency"s comments, available at the "" website under Document Identification Number PHMSA-2006-25736-0015, in the development of the notice of proposed rulemaking issued under this docket.

I hope this satisfies your request.


Dr. Magdy El-Sibaie

Associate Administrator Office of Hazardous Materials Safety


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations