Globally, about 15 million packages of radioactive material are transported yearly on public roads, railways, and ships. Since important natural resources like uranium are not equally distributed around the world, transport is an integral step for countries worldwide to be able to produce nuclear fuel. Interestingly, most countries that mine uranium do not produce nuclear power. Moreover, to ensure the safe packaging of radioactive materials during transportation, ANSI N14.5-2022: Radioactive Materials – Leakage Tests On Packages For Shipment provides performance, testing, and quality assurance requirements.
What Is ANSI N14.5-2022?
ANSI N14.5-2022 specifies methods for demonstrating that Type B packages designed for transport of normal form radioactive material comply with the containment requirements of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 71 (10 CFR Part 71). The American National Standard details the following:
- Package release limits
- Methods for relating package release limits to allowable and reference leakage rates
- Minimum requirements for leakage rate test procedures.
The standard also contains non-mandatory appendices on leakage rate test methods, determination of reference leakage rates, and determinations of activity in the medium.
What Is Type B Packaging?
Type B packages are used to transport materials with high levels of radioactivity, including spent fuel from nuclear power plants, high-level radioactive waste, cobalt sources, and other radioisotopes. These packages provide shielding against the radiation. The size of the Type B packages can range from small containers to those weighing over 100 tons.
Compliance with Type B Package Requirements in ANSI N14.5-2022
To demonstrate compliance with Type B package containment, ANSI N14.5-2022 specifies the requirements for leakage rate tests. These tests include:
- Design to verify that the containment system design is adequate to achieve the desired level of containment
- Fabrication to demonstrate that each packaging, as fabricated, provides the required level of containment
- Maintenance to confirm that maintenance, repair, or replacement of components has not degraded the containment system performance
- Periodic to confirm that the containment capabilities have not deteriorated over an extended period of use
- Pre-shipment to confirm that the containment system is properly assembled for shipment
Transporting Radioactive Materials
Transporting radioactive material is highly regulated to protect people and the environment from the harmful impacts of radiation (like cancer). Protection from radioactive material comes from the leak-tight design of the package. Each kind of packaging requires specific testing to make sure that it can withstand accidents, fire, and water. ANSI N14.5-2022 specifies that the package designer or shipper must assess the concentration of radioactive materials that might escape from the package, under shipping conditions, so that a leakage test procedure with adequate sensitivity can be selected.
Most radioactive material is transported on the highway. Drivers who transport radioactive material are trained in basic radiation science and radiation emergency safety so the materials and packages are handled properly. Furthermore, when shipping highly radioactive materials, routes are meticulously picked, shipments are tracked, and in some cases shipments are escorted for more security.
ANSI N14.5-2022: Radioactive Materials – Leakage Tests On Packages For Shipment is available on the ANSI Webstore.