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

Interpretation Response #13-0217 ([Mr. Mark B. Hawk])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Mr. Mark B. Hawk

Location State: TN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 12, 2014

Mr. Mark B. Hawk
Hazardous Materials Consultant
49 Palisades Parkway
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Reference No. 13-0217

Dear Mr. Hawk:

This is in response to your November 12, 2013, and November 21, 2013 e-mails asking when the free drop test prescribed in § 173.465(c)(2) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) is required for packages containing Type A, fissile Class 7 (radioactive) material.  We have paraphrased your questions and answered them in the order you provided.

Q1. Is my understanding correct that the free drop test prescribed in § 173.465(c)(2) is required for Class 7 fissile materials that are subject to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) 10 CFR Part 71, Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Material, Subpart C, General Licenses?  Also, is my understanding correct that 10 CFR Part 71 states a Type A package prescribed in § 173.417(a) is required for Class 7 fissile material?
A1. Your understanding is incorrect.  Section 173.465(c)(2) states all materials that meet the definition of a fissile material in § 173.403 must be placed in a packaging intended to contain Type A fissile material.  In addition, this packaging must be capable of successfully withstanding a free drop test from a height of 0.3 m (1 foot) on each corner, or in the case of cylindrical packages, onto each of the quarters of each rim, and then must demonstrate that it is capable of successfully withstanding the free drop test prescribed in § 173.465(c)(1).  The NRC is the federal agency authorized to interpret the requirements prescribed in 10 CFR Part 71.  To obtain a clarification on these regulations, you may wish to contact the NRC’s Office of Public Affairs, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852, (301) 415-8200.  
Q2. Is my understanding correct that no other fissile Class 7 materials subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations other than Type A are required to comply with the free drop test for Type A packagings prescribed in § 173.465(c)(2)?  
A2. Your understanding is correct.  Under the 1979 Memorandum of Understanding between the DOT and the NRC (that can be downloaded from this website location:…), DOT has the primary responsibility for regulating Type A quantities of Class 7 materials and their packagings.  The HMR require that a Type A inner packaging must satisfy the requirements of the free drop test specified in § 173.465(c) and the initial drop test requirements for fissile material specified in § 173.465(c)(2).

Q3. Is it correct that fissile materials that qualify for the exceptions prescribed in § 173.453 do not have to comply with the free drop test prescribed in § 173.465(c)(2)?

A3. The answer is yes.  Packagings authorized for fissile materials that comply with the exceptions prescribed in § 173.453 do not have to comply with the requirements for fissile materials prescribed in 49 CFR Part 173, except as specifically noted, and are excepted from having to comply with the free drop test for fissile material packagings prescribed in § 173.465(c)(2).

I hope this satisfies your request.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.465 Type A packaging tests