Radioactive Materials Transport: Worldwide Excellence in Safety, Past, Present and Future
Authors: Heywood, J. D.; Blenkint, J. J.; Wilkinsont, H. L.; Murrayt, M.
Source: International Journal of Radioactive Materials Transport, Volume 8, Numbers 3-4, 1997 , pp. 387-395(9)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:The safety record of the transport of radioactive material (RAM) is excellent. This level of safety has been achieved on a global scale principally through the adoption into national legislation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Transport Regulations by all countries which participate in the movement of RAM. Over more than 30 years of operations, involving millions of shipments, the effectiveness of these regulations has been demonstrated by the continued low incident rate. In the UK there has been a notable absence of any transport accidents with serious radiological consequences since incident logging began in 1968. The IAEA Regulations are prescriptive in nature and they aim to achieve a uniform level of safety through controls graded to match the potential hazard of the radioactive cargo. The engineered and operational controls address containment of the RAM, radiation emitted from the package, dissipation of heat and prevention of criticality. The nuclear industry and its regulators have constantly sought to improve the safety of RAM transport operations, and also to measure the degree of safety compared with other industries and with generic safety criteria. Because of the extremely low incident rate and the consequent absence of direct historical data, probabilistic methods have been applied to provide a conservative assessment of the risks associated with specific transport operations. These assessments have demonstrated the low level of risk associated with RAM transport operations in comparison with industry benchmarks such as UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) criteria. This paper illustrates the effectiveness of the IAEA Regulations in ensuring safety by reference to UK and worldwide experience, the results of quantified risk assessments and the mechanisms in place for continued review and improvement of the Regulations. The following topics are explored: (I) The controls embodied in the IAEA Regulations and how they minimise the consequences of accidents. (2) A review of quantified risk assessments carried out in this country and abroad. (3) A summary of the RAM transport incident record and a brief review of the results of surveys of RAM transport operations in· the UK and worldwide. (4) Discussion of the risks associated with RAM transport compared with other industries. The paper concludes that the IAEA Regulations provide a robust and effective framework for the safe transport of RAM, ensuring that risks are kept at very low levels compared to relevant accepted criteria and other dangerous goods transport operations. The provisions for review and revision of the IAEA Regulations ensure that they will continue to provide effective controls in the future. However, care must be taken to ensure that future changes are fully justified in terms of the benefits to be gained in comparison to the costs of implementing new measures. The costs of implementing additional safeguards must be in proportion to the potential safety benefits.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1997-01-01
- In 2004, International Journal of Radioactive Materials Transport changed its name to Packaging, Transport, Storage and Security of Radioactive Material. View issues of Packaging, Transport, Storage and Security of Radioactive Material.
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