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Interpretation Response #13-0047 ([Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc.] [Mr. David Wilson])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. David Wilson

Location State: TN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 9, 2013


Mr. David Wilson
Packaging and Transportation Project Manager
Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc.
669 Emory Valley Road 
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Reference No.: 13-0047

Dear Mr. Wilson:

This is in response to your February 8, 2013 letter and requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  You reference a previous letter of interpretation, 11-0302 issued to you by this office in November of 2011, and ask several questions concerning the reuse of Type B and fissile material packagings.  Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1.  If packaging components are inspected and determined to require replacement in accordance with established acceptance criteria in the safety analysis report (SAR) submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), would these inspection and replacement determinations be constructed as showing evidence of a reduction in integrity which would require the packaging to be reconditioned in accordance with § 173.28(c)(2)?

A1.  The answer to your question is no.  Routine inspections and replacements of packaging components would not normally be considered to be evidence of a reduction in integrity which would require the packaging to be reconditioned in accordance with § 173.28(c)(2). As stated in § 173.28(a), the reconditioning requirements apply only to packages which have suffered damage which have reduced their structural integrity.  Should an inspection reveal sufficient structural damage that reduces packaging integrity, then the reconditioning requirements would apply.       

Q2.  If containment is independent of the outer packaging (i.e. removable containment vessel with separate closure device including any required gaskets), would the determination of a reduction in integrity of a containment system component also require the reconditioning of the protective outer packaging?  Or is it permitted to recondition the containment system and outer packaging independently?

A2.  If it is determined that the reduction in packaging integrity is limited to the internal containment vessel and did not impact the outer packaging, reconditioning of the outer packaging would not be necessary.  

Q3.  The requirements of § 173.28(c)(2)(i) stipulate the removal of all former contents.  What are the acceptable contamination limits that would satisfy this requirement?  Would the packaging be decontaminated to; less than or equal to the contamination levels specified in § 173.403, ensuring that the activity concentration and the total activity are less than or equal to the limits specified in § 173.403, less than or equal to the non-fixed external contamination limits specified in § 173.443, or less than or equal to the internal contamination limits specified in § 173.428(d)?

A3.  The requirement in § 173.28(c)(2)(i) simply states, removal of all former contents. Decontamination is not required by this paragraph.  However, if the packaging is to be shipped to another location to be repaired, it would need to meet the requirements of § 173.443, or if shipped as “Empty”, the requirements of § 173.428.

Q4.  The requirements of § 173.28(c)(2)(i) stipulate cleaning to original materials of construction.  What extent of packaging disassembly would be required for packaging with intermediate cavities to satisfy this cleaning requirement?  Or does this requirement only apply to accessible surfaces?

A4.  This requirement only applies to those surfaces which would come in contact with the contents and which would need cleaning to fully remove the contents.

Q5.  For non-bulk Type B and Fissile Material packagings, what constitutes cushioning and cushioning material?  Does the § 173.28(c)(2)(iii) requirement for replacement of all cushioning and cushioning material impose the replacement of all impact-limiting materials of construction?  Are elastomeric pads or spacers, which are used to avoid metal-to-metal contact or to limit vibration, considered cushioning or cushioning material?

A5.  Cushioning material is not a defined term in the HMR.  Without specific package details this office cannot determine what internal components may or may not be considered cushioning material.  Generally speaking, cushioning material in non-bulk packages refers to material that is not an integral component of the package that is added to absorb shocks normally incident to transportation.  Generally, elastomeric pads or spacers used as spacers between integral metal components would not considered to be cushioning or cushioning material  It is important to note that the requirement to replace cushioning and cushioning material only applies to packages deemed to have damage which reduces its structural integrity in accordance with § 173.28.
Q6.  What markings applied by the reconditioner are required for non-bulk Type B and Fissile Material packagings?   

A6.  The requirement to mark reconditioned packaging in § 173.28(c)(3) is limited to a person who reconditions a packaging manufactured and marked under the provisions of subpart L of part 178 of the HMR.  As Type B and Fissile Materials are not packages manufactured and marked under these provisions, no reconditioning mark is required.

Q7.  Based on the PHMSA response in interpretation 11-0302, a domestic reconditioning activity would be imposed for non-bulk packagings that are internationally excluded from the reuse and reconditioning requirements specified in chapter 6.1 of the United Nations Model Regulations.  Are the PHMSA responses to Q1-Q6 different for packages authorized in accordance with §§ 173.415(d), 173.416(b), 173.417(a)(1)(iii), and 173.417(b)(2)?

A7.  Packages offered in accordance with §§ 173.416(b), 173.417(a)(1)(iii), and 173.417(b)(2) are only authorized for export or import shipments and are contingent on the package fulfilling the requirements of both the foreign competent authority certificate and the U.S. Competent Authority revalidation, and all requirements of the certificates and revalidations must be met in accordance with § 171.23(b)(11)(ii).  Packages offered in accordance with § 173.415(d) must conform with requirements of the country of origin and the International Atomic Energy Agency regulations applicable to Type A packagings.  Our response to your previous interpretation request (11-0302), as well as this response, do not impose any requirements beyond repairing a damaged package as needed to meet the requirements applicable to it.

I trust this satisfies your inquiry.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Delmer Billings
Senior Regulatory Advisor
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.28 Reuse, reconditioning and remanufacture of packagings