United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
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Nuclear Materials Transportation Package Certification

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Obtaining a Radioactive Material Package Certificate of Compliance

The NRC must approve any package used for shipping nuclear material before shipment. If the package meets NRC requirements, the NRC issues a Radioactive Material Package Certificate of Compliance (CoC) to the organization requesting approval of a package. Organizations are authorized to ship radioactive material in a package approved for use under the general license provisions of 10 CFR Part 71 (see Shipping Requirements for more information).

For a transportation package to be certified by the NRC, it must be shown by actual test or computer analysis to withstand a series of accident conditions. The tests are performed in sequence to determine their cumulative effects on the package.

Process for New Certificates of Compliance

To apply for a CoC to ship nuclear material, an organization would submit an application to NRC for review and approval. The application would contain information as described in "Standard Review Plan for Transportation Packages for Radioactive Material" (NUREG-1609)or the "Standard Review Plan for Transportation Packages for Spent Fuel" (NUREG-1617). The application must address the safety and operational characteristics of the package, including design analysis for structural, thermal, radiation shielding, nuclear criticality, material content confinement, and the conditions listed. In addition the application must contain operational guidance, such as any testing and maintenance requirements, operating procedures, and conditions for package use.

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Revision Process for Certificates of Compliance

To modify a CoC, a CoC holder would submit a request to NRC with any necessary supporting technical information for NRC to review and approve, if appropriate.

Renewal Process for Certificates of Compliance

To renew a CoC, a CoC holder at the end of the five-year approval period, would submit a request to NRC with any necessary supporting information describing the capability of the package design to continue to meet technical requirements. After reviewing this information, the NRC would determine whether to grant a CoC renewal.

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Transfer and Merger Process for Certificates of Compliance

To transfer ownership of a CoC or to merge with another organization, a CoC holder would submit a request to NRC with any necessary supporting organizational information for NRC to review and approve the amendment.

Package Performance Study

The Package Performance Study (PPS) involved benchmarking computer model results to actual drop tests performed on both full-scale and partial-scale spent nuclear fuel transportation (SNFT) casks, and the simulation of a full-scale rail transportation accident. The purpose was to demonstrate the robustness of the SNFT casks. Due to the uncertainty associated with the national strategy for nuclear waste disposal and the elimination of high level nuclear waste funds in the NRC budgets, the Commission has terminated the preparation for a simulated rail accident. The staff plans to resume computer modeling during the second half of FY 13 and continue through FY 14. Expected benefits of the computer modeling are to reaffirm the staff and industry practices for the design and review of SNFT casks.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, May 23, 2013