The physical protection of nuclear materials during transport is designed to provide protection against robbery, theft or other unlawful appropriation of the materials during this activity as well as ensuring the application of measures to locate and recover the lost or stolen material. It also seeks to protect the nuclear materials from sabotage or any other illegal act that could have radiological consequences or damage or alter the normal functioning of the transport activity, and mitigating or minimizing the radiological consequences if sabotage occurs.
For this reason, the transport of the highest risk nuclear materials must have a physical protection authorisation based on a specific document, the transport physical protection plan. In addition, for nuclear materials posing lower risks such as natural uranium, for amounts above 500 kg of uranium, although a physical protection authorisation is not necessary, a prior notification of the transport to the relevant authorities is required.
The physical protection authorisation for transporting nuclear materials must be requested to the Ministry of Industry which will issue it after the mandatory reports from the Ministry of the Interior and the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council.
Moreover, all companies transporting nuclear materials must be included in the Ministry of Industry register for organisations carrying out transport activities requiring physical protection measures.