Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances - CNSC Online - Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

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Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 1


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The nuclear industry regulates the transport of nuclear substances in Canada.

The CNSC and Transport Canada regulate the transport of nuclear substances in Canada through a series of safety-centred regulatory requirements covering the entire journey of a shipment, from the time it is initially packaged to arrival at its destination.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 2


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Every year, approximately 100,000 packages containing nuclear substances are shipped to, from, and within Canada.

Each year, more than a million packages containing nuclear substances are safely transported within Canada. Most contain small quantities of nuclear substances such as smoke detectors, medical isotopes for diagnostic medicine, uranium ore, and industrial products such as moisture density gauges used in construction.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 3


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All nuclear substances are transported in the same type of package.

Nuclear substances are transported in a variety of types of packages based on the nature, form, quantity, and radioactivity of the particular substance. They share the design requirement that they be built to be handled safely and easily, secured properly, and able to withstand routine conditions of transport

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 4


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Regulations developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are used as a basis to regulate the packaging and transport of radioactive materials around the world.

The IAEA, a United Nations organization, develops worldwide regulations on which the CNSC has based its own regulations. The CNSC regulates all aspects of the packaging and transport of nuclear substances, including the design, production, use, inspection, maintenance and repair of packages, from their preparation for shipment to their unloading at the final destination.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 5


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Nuclear substances may only be transported by road.

Each package design is evaluated to ensure that it meets all of the applicable regulatory requirements specific to various modes of transport. Package designs are combined with additional regulatory controls such as labeling and maintenance records, allowing packages to be carried safely in all modes of transport allowed by the package design, be it road, rail, air or sea.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 6


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The person who prepares nuclear substances for shipment has no responsibility for ensuring the safety of the substances during transport.

The prime responsibility for ensuring the safety of nuclear substances during transport rests with the person who is preparing the shipment, the consignor. The package must comply with all CNSC and Transport Canada regulations. Packages must be categorized and labeled correctly, and must be accompanied by the proper transport documentation. The consignor must also display the appropriate safety marks, verify that employees are properly trained for their positions and, if required, have an approved Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP).

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 7


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Used nuclear fuel shipments require a security plan under CNSC regulations.

Shipments of used nuclear fuel require a transport security plan. This plan requires security measures such as escort personnel, communications arrangements with response forces, security searches, contingency arrangements in case of mechanical breakdown, and procedures to follow during scheduled or unscheduled stops. The details are considered prescribed information and are only disclosed to agencies with a valid need to know such as police response forces.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 8


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Packages intended for the transport of used nuclear fuel need to be certified by the CNSC and undergo extreme testing.

Regulations require that a used fuel transportation package withstand the cumulative effects of a 9-metre drop onto a hard surface, 30-minutes engulfed in fire burning at 800°C, and immersion in 15 metres of water for 1 hour without any breach of containment. A CNSC-issued certificate demonstrating compliance is required prior to transport.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 9


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If the proper package is being used, an emergency response plan is not required for shipments of used nuclear fuel.

Regulations require that the consignor have an emergency response plan. The consignor is responsible for both the cost of response and for any clean-up.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 10


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There is no safe way to transport nuclear substances.

Nuclear substances have been transported safely for over 50 years without accidents that led to any serious injuries, fatality or environmental consequences related to the radioactive nature of such material being transported or being involved in a transport accident.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 11


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Packages containing nuclear substances can make other cargo radioactive.

To contaminate other cargo, the nuclear substance being transported would have to leave its container and be in contact or enter into another package. All packages intended to transport nuclear substances are sealed to prevent the release of material and have to meet strict contamination limits on their surfaces to prevent this. Approved levels of gamma radiation may pass through the shielding and be detectable outside packages but this radiation cannot contaminate, or make radioactive, anything nearby.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 12


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If there is an accident during the transport of nuclear substances, the agency or person carrying the package is responsible for emergency response.

Under CNSC regulations, the consignor – the person or agency that packaged the material and hired the carrier – is responsible for the safety of the package during transport. Consignors of fissile material and low specific activity material are also required to have an emergency response assistance plan approved by Transport Canada and in place in addition to a 24-hour emergency number.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 13


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If you are stuck in traffic beside a vehicle transporting nuclear substances there is no reason to be concerned about your health.

Although it is possible to measure a small amount of radiation being emitted from a package (dose rate), the regulations prescribe strict limits to ensure the safety of workers and the public. This dose rate decreases very rapidly as you move away from the package.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 14


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No specialized training is required for drivers of vehicles transporting nuclear substances.

Transport Canada requires that drivers be trained on the transport of the dangerous goods they carry. In the case of nuclear substances, they also have to be trained on the radiation protection program of the company for which they are working as per the CNSC’s Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 15


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Transportation of nuclear substances through public routes poses a risk to public health and safety.

Millions of shipments of nuclear substances are being safely and routinely transported around the world every year, with the impressive record that there has never been any serious injury, or fatality, or environmental consequence related to the radioactive nature of the material being transported since the establishment of the IAEA Transport Regulations in 1960.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

Question 16


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As long as the package meets CNSC requirements, any shipping or delivery company can be hired to transport nuclear substances.

It is the responsibility of the consignor of the shipment to ensure that the transport company has trained their employees in the proper handling and transport of nuclear substances (Class 7 radioactive material) and that it has a radiation protection program in place.

Fact or Fiction: Transport of Nuclear Substances

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