The requirements for the transport of radioactive material are part of the general regulations for transporting all types of hazardous goods. Radioactive material is a specific type of hazardous good and is identified as class 7 in a range of nine classes. These requirements arise from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulation for the safe transport of radioactive materials, which has been transferred to the international regulations for the transport of dangerous goods for each type of transport, road, rail, air and sea, used in Spain.
The basic objectives of the requirements are:
• The confinement of radioactive materials within their packaging.
• The monitoring of external radiation outside the packages.
• The prevention of reaching a critical mass when transporting fissile materials.
• Preventing damage caused by the heat emitted by certain types of packages.
The safe transport of radioactive material depends fundamentally on the packaging design and the preparation of the packages (the packaging and its contents) by the dispatcher, including its markings and the issuing of the transport documentation.
The dispatcher is also responsible for the approvals of the designs of the packaging and for the prior authorisations and notifications of dispatches. Carriers also have their specific responsibilities for the training of the transport personnel, the equipping and condition of the vehicles and the stowage of the radioactive packages in the transport means.
Considering that safety is based primarily on the design of the packaging and not on the control of each transport, most dispatches require neither prior authorisation nor notification.
As well as the specific legislation on transport, there is other which generally affects all the practices in which the radioactive material is involved and that, therefore, also affects its transport. This is the legislation on matters such as radiological protection, physical protection and risks coverage.