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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 #19-0073

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: MISTRAS Group, Inc.

Individual Name: David Boudreaux

Location State: LA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 27, 2019

Mr. David Boudreaux
QA/QC Manager and
Radiation Safety Officer
MISTRAS Group, Inc.
108 Lois Road
Houma, LA 70363

Reference No. 19-0073

Dear Mr. Boudreaux:

This letter is in response to your June 6, 2019, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to transporting radioactive materials aboard cargo aircraft only. Specifically, you ask for additional clarification of question "Q2" and answer "A2" in Letter of Interpretation Reference No. 17-0114 issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on February 27, 2018. We have paraphrased your background discussion and answered your questions in the order you provided.

You state question "Q2" in Ref. No. 17-0114 concerns whether § 175.75(e)(3) permits an x-ray technician and his or her assistant to accompany a piece of x-ray equipment shipped as "UN2916, Radioactive material, Type B (U) package non-fissile or fissile-excepted” by cargo aircraft only. PHMSA answered no in answer "A2," with which you agree. However, you state the x-ray technician and his and/or her assistant are part of a larger Industrial Radiography Crew that utilizes this equipment to conduct services for offshore clients.

You also state the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires that Industrial Radiographers obtain appropriate security clearances to have unescorted access to hand-carry equipment that contains Class 7 (radioactive) material over a certain activity level in Type B(U) packages approved by the NRC. Further, you state that due to licensing requirements imposed by the NRC or an Agreement State (e.g., the State of Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)), the Industrial Radiographers must comply with requirements to physically protect the Class 7 materials and present the packages that contain this equipment and applicable shipper's declaration of dangerous goods to the heliport dispatchers to obtain permission to board a helicopter.

You ask whether the following two scenarios comply with § 175.75(e)(3):

S1: Our company, MISTRAS, is the shipper. The Industrial Radiography Crew are employees of MISTRAS. MISTRAS employees supply the shipper's declaration of dangerous goods. The shipper's declaration is signed by one of the members of the Industrial Radiography Crew. The members of the crew are listed on the shipper's declaration in a location other than the certifying signature as persons "necessary for handling the material." Is the crew member who signs the shipper's declaration considered a representative of the shipper "so designated in writing" as prescribed in § 175.75(e)(3)(i)? Do the other crew members listed on the shipper's declaration also meet the criteria for representatives of the shipper so designated in writing as prescribed in § 175.75(e)(3)(i)?

A1: The crew member who signs the shipper's declaration is considered a representative of the shipper "so designated in writing." However, the crew members listed on the shipper's declaration as necessary for handling the material who do not sign the shipper's certification on the shipper’s declaration do not perform a function of the shipper and, therefore, are not considered representatives of the shipper so designated in writing.

S2: Due to the licensing conditions imposed by either the NRC or an Agreement State (e.g., Louisiana DEQ) for physical protection of radioactive materials, does the Industrial Radiography Crew listed on the shipper's declaration also meet the definition of a "person necessary for handling the material" prescribed in § 175.75(e)(3)(i)?

A2: The answer is yes, the crew members listed on the shipping paper are considered "persons necessary for handling the material" and may be transported onboard the aircraft with the x-ray equipment provided the conditions in § 175.75(e)(3) are met. For clarification, the conditions for packages of hazardous materials carried on small, single pilot, cargo aircraft are: (i) no person is carried on the aircraft other than the pilot, an FAA inspector, the shipper or consignee of the material, a representative of the shipper or consignee so designated in writing, or a person necessary for handling the material; (ii) the pilot is provided with written instructions on the characteristics and proper handling of the materials; and (iii) whenever a change of pilots occurs while the material is on board, the new pilot is briefed under a hand-to-hand signature service provided by the operator of the aircraft. The HMR defines "cargo aircraft only" as an aircraft that is used to transport cargo and is not engaged in carrying passengers. This definition further states under the HMR the terms "cargo aircraft only," "cargo-only aircraft," and "cargo aircraft" have the same meaning. See § 171.8.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


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

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
175.75 Quantity limitations and cargo location