United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Cessation of Plutonium Shipments By Air Except In NRC Approved Containers (Generic Letter 78-36)

                                                              GL 78-36

                                                          September 1, 1978

To NRC Licensee

By order dated August 15, 1975, NRC licensees were ordered, notwithstanding
the provisions of 10 CFR Part 71 and any provisions of their license, to cease
and desist from making any shipments of plutonium by air, other than plutonium
contained in a medical device designed for individual human application.

Except for plutonium contained in a medical device designed for indivdual
human application,  Public Law 94-79 prohibited the NRC from licensing any
shipments of plutonium by air until the NRC certified to the Congress that a
safe container had been developed and tested which would not rupture under
crash and blast-testing equivalent to the crash and explosion of a high-flying
aircraft.

On August 4, 1978, the NRC certified to Congress that a package which would
fulfill the requirements of Public Law-94-79 had been designed and tested. 
The Pluutonium Air Transportable Package, Model PAT-1, has been issued NRC
Certificate of Compliance No. 0361.  This Certificate of Compliance authorizes
use of the Model PAT-1 package for air transport of plutonium.

Accordingly, the Commission hereby orders that not withstanding any provisions
to the contrary in the NRC's regulations or in your license, shipments of
plutonium by air, other than plutonium contained in a medical device designed
for indivdual human application, may only be made in packages the design of
which the NRC has specifically approved for transport of plutonium by air.

This order supersedes the Commission order of August 15, 1975.

Information regarding the use of the Model PAT-1 package may be obtained from
Mr. Charles E. MacDonald, Cheif, Transportation Branch, Division of Fuel Cycle
and Material Safety, telephone (301) 427-4122.

                                   Sincerely,



                                   Clifford V. Smith, Jr. Director
                                   Office of Nuclear Material Safety
                                     and Safeguards


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