United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Transportation of Limited Quantities of Radioactive Materials on Passenger Carrying Aircraft

HPPOS-241 PDR-9111220085

See the letter from V. L. Miller to All Agreement States dated August 8, 1991, and the enclosed letter from P. T. McDonnell (Federal Aviation Commission) to C. Kammerer dated March 19, 1991. These two letters state that DOT regulations allow the practice of carrying small check or calibration sources or other small quantities of radioactive materials onto passenger carrying aircraft.

With the exception of incident reporting requirements, radioactive materials prepared for shipment under the provisions of 49 CFR 173.421 or 49 CFR 173.422 are not subject to the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR: 49 CFR Parts 100-199) when transported by air. Limited quantities of radioactive materials (49 CFR 173.421) or exempted instruments or articles (49 CFR 173.422) may be transported in carry-on or checked baggage on a passenger aircraft. A passenger carrying the radioactive material may hand-carry the documentation required by 10 CFR 49.421-1 (a).

Radioactive materials prepared in accordance with 49 CFR 173.421 or 49 CFR 173.422, may be carried on a passenger aircraft regardless of the end use of the material. The provision in 49 CFR 175.700 (c) that limits the carriage of radioactive material in carry-on luggage to materials intended for use in, or incident to, research, medical diagnosis or treatment, would not apply.

It must be noted that under the provisions of 49 CFR 171.11 (a), shippers are given the option of preparing shipments of hazardous materials in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions for The Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. 49 CFR 175.30 (a) permits air carriers to accept shipments offered in compliance with the ICAO Technical Instructions.

The requirements for excepted packages of radioactive materials are found in Part 2;7.9 of the ICAO Technical Instructions. The provisions of Part 2;7.9 except limited quantities, instruments, and manufactured articles from regulatory requirements in a manner similar to 49 CFR 173.421-1 (b).

Regulatory references: 49 CFR 171, 49 CFR 173, 49 CFR 175

Subject codes: 12.8, 12.17

Applicability: All

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012