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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 #21-0036

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Entergy Operations Inc.

Individual Name: Donnie James

Location State: LA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 8, 2021

Donnie James
Shipping Technician, Radwaste/Shipping
Entergy Operations Inc.
Waterford 3 S.E.S.
17265 River Rd
Killona, LA  70057

Reference No. 21-0036

Dear Mr. James:

This letter is in response to your April 8, 2021, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to marking requirements for bulk packages containing radioactive material. Specifically, you describe a scenario involving a bulk Type A package, containing a Type B quantity of "UN3321, Radioactive material, low specific activity (LSA-II) non fissile or fissile-excepted, 7." The material is shipped via ground transportation, in exclusive use.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask whether the letters "RQ" are required to be marked on a bulk package that is not being shipped under the provisions of § 173.427. You provide "UN2916, Radioactive material, Type B(U) package, fissile-excepted, 7" as an example of a material that does not qualify for the provisions of § 173.427.

A1. The answer is no. The letters "RQ" are generally not required to be marked on a bulk package, except as expressly directed by a specific provision of the HMR.

Q2. You ask whether a Type A quantity shipped in a bulk package as LSA or Surface Contaminated Object (SCO) radioactive material, via domestic ground transport as an exclusive use shipment, must bear the "RQ" marking as required by § 173.427(a)(6)(vi).

A2. The answer is yes, if the packaged or unpackaged LSA or SCO material contains a hazardous substance and utilizes the exception from the marking and labeling requirements provided in § 173.427(a)(6)(vi). In final rule HM-230 (69 FR 3631; 1/26/2004), the Research and Special Programs Administration, PHMSA's predecessor agency, stated that the intent of § 173.427(a)(6)(vi) is that all packages transported in accordance with this provision, regardless of capacity or weight, that contain a hazardous substance must bear the "RQ" marking.

Q3. You ask whether the "Radioactive-LSA" or "Radioactive-SCO" and RQ marking requirements of § 173.427(a)(6)(vi) apply to LSA or SCO shipments of A2 quantities or greater.

A3. The answer is no, packages of LSA or SCO material that do not qualify for the § 173.427(a)(6)(vi) marking and labeling exception are not subject to the additional requirements found in this subparagraph. The requirements of § 173.427(a)(6)(vi)—including the requirement to mark the letters "RQ" on a package containing a hazardous substance—only apply to shipments that qualify for, and utilize, the marking and labeling exception described in this subparagraph. Please note that non-bulk packages of LSA or SCO material of A2 quantities or greater that contain a hazardous substance must bear the RQ mark, in accordance with the general non-bulk package marking requirements in § 172.324.

Q4. You ask whether the marking size requirements of § 172.302(b) apply to the RQ marking on a bulk package.

A4. The answer is yes.

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


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

172.302(b), 172.324, 173.427, 173.427(a)(6)(vi)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.302 General marking requirements for bulk packagings.
172.324 Hazardous substances in non-bulk packagings
173.427 Transport requirements for low specific activity (LSA) Class 7 (radioactive) material and surface contaminated objects (SCO)