Periodically, the Department of Energy (DOE) Packaging Certification Program receives questions related to the expiration of maintenance on certified Type B and Fissile radioactive material packages and packagings, that can summarized as follows:
"If the packaging maintenance expires during package transport, is it a violation of the Certificate of Compliance (CoC), per §71.95(a)(3)?"
PCP discussed this question with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) colleagues. DOT deferred to NRC, since NRC issues and interprets 10 CFR Part 71 CoC compliance.
NRC stated, "Generally, we consider that, if maintenance becomes due when package is in transit/shipment, this is a violation of the CoC. There may be some exceptions to the rule ... it all depends upon what Chapter 8 specifies. If it says that the tests or maintenance checks have to be done “prior to shipment”, or “prior to loading”, etc., the package would not be in compliance. If Chapter 8 is more vague, i.e., “within the year prior to commencing shipment…,” then the package may be considered to be in compliance. Most SARs require some maintenance or maintenance check prior to loading (Chapter 7.1): thus, generally speaking, a situation like the one you describe would make us find that the package is not in compliance."
In response to NRC. PCP made the following statement, "If the SAR said something like, "Verify that periodic maintenance was performed prior transport. If maintenance expires during transport (i.e., in-transit), then package maintenance must be performed before subsequent package loading operations (Chapter 7.1)." And if the CoC said to follow the SAR ... , then it would not be a violation."
NRC concurred, "For the case you describe, you are correct. This would NOT be a violation. However, for most cases, we do not have such a detailed statement in an SAR."
Based on this dialog with NRC, PCP will require applicants for DOE CoCs to include the following statement in their Safety Analysis Reports for Packaging to ensure there is no ambiguity regarding the expiration of packaging maintenance, "Verify that periodic maintenance was performed prior transport. If maintenance expires during transport (i.e., in-transit), then package maintenance must be performed before subsequent package loading operations (Chapter 7.1)."
For questions or comments contact DOE PCP Manager, Dr. Shuler, (301) 903-5513,
Office of Environmental Management