Published December 2020
- Safe transport of radioactive material requires that the packages for the radioactive materials conform to international standards and have been approved by the competent authority .
- Special form packages for certain higher hazard material requires validation by an Australian competent authority if the original approval was issued by a non-Australian competent authority.
- Validation can be carried out by state, territory or Commonwealth competent authorities for transport by road, rail and inland waterways in their jurisdiction; or by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for air transport and by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for transport at sea.
- The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, ARPANSA, is the competent Commonwealth authority for transport by road, rail and inland waters.
- ARPANSA has resources that can assist applicants in obtaining a validation from ARPANSA, and can also on request assist jurisdictional competent authorities with validation.
- The validation follows the international regulations for safe transport of radioactive material, published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Note to reader
This advisory note provides explanation and advice with regard to validation of non-Australian approval of the design of special form radioactive material, Type B(U) and Type C packages. The intended audience is the licence holder or the responsible person making the application for validation. This note does not provide technical guidance for compliance but explains ARPANSA’s validation process for non-Australian design approvals, as an example.
Why does the package need validation?
The safe transport of radioactive material in Australia is based on international requirements published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Australian Code for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, RPS C-2 (Rev.1) 2019 (the Transport Code)1 adopts the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material 2018 Edition, Specific Safety Requirements No. SSR-6 (Rev.1)2. The Transport Code establishes requirements for adoption by the Commonwealth, states and territories, for the safe transport of radioactive material by road and rail as well as by inland waterways.
According to the IAEA Transport Regulations, unilateral approval is given to the design of special form radioactive material, Type B(U) or Type C packages by the competent authority of the country of origin of the design. However, a Member State may require an additional approval be given by its competent authority for any special form radioactive material, Type B(U) or Type C package that is to be used for domestic transport in its territory, even if the design has already been approved in another country3.
Section 3 of the Transport Code requires validation of non-Australian unilateral approval of the design of Type B(U) and Type C packages by the Australian competent authority for use in Australia. This is to enable assessment of compliance with local regulatory requirements and to ensure that, should an incident or accident occur involving such material and package, relevant information will be readily available for an appropriate regulatory and emergency response. This is in line with international best practice.
Who carries out the validation?
Designs can be validated by an Australian competent authority that may endorse the original approval certificate after a risk-informed and proportionate degree of assessment.
There are ten competent authorities for the transport of radioactive material by road and inland waterways in Australia. The regulatory body in each state and territory is the competent authority for their respective jurisdiction; ARPANSA is the competent authority for the Commonwealth.
In addition, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is the competent authority for the transport of radioactive material by air and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is the competent authority for the transport of radioactive material by sea.
What help can ARPANSA offer?
ARPANSA can be contacted online by completing and lodging an online contact form or by calling on 1800 022 333.
ARPANSA can provide support to other competent authorities mentioned above by undertaking assessments of applications for validation of non-Australian design approvals. This includes assessment of the safety case.
Example: ARPANSA’s validation process
Applications to ARPANSA for competent authority validation should include the information described in the Transport of radioactive material - Validation of certificate checklist.
If ARPANSA’s assessment identifies a need to impose additional controls or restrictions to those stated on the original certificate, then these controls or restrictions will be reflected in the validation certificate.
A flowchart explaining ARPANSA’s validation process is provided below:
1 ARPANSA 2019. Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency 2019. Code for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, Radiation Protection Series C-2 (Rev.1).
2 IAEA 2018. International Atomic Energy Agency 2018. Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, Specific Safety Requirements No. SSR-6 (Rev. 1).
3 IAEA 2012. International Atomic Energy Agency 2012. Advisory Material for the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, Specific Safety Guide SSG-26 (under revision in 2020).