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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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Safety of the transport of radioactive materials for civilian use

Transport of radioactive materials: Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2014 and 2015

Publication date: 09/03/2017

Infographic: Safety of the Transport of Radioactive Materials for Civilian Use in France in 2014 and 2015 IRSN publishes its report on the safety of transport of radioactive materials for civilian use in France for the years 2014 and 2015. It is based on an overall review of the significant events that occurred during this period during transport operations in France by road, railway, inland waterway, sea and air of 980 000 parcels loaded with radioactive substances.

In 2014 and 2015, respectively 139 and 122 events were reported, which is about one event reported for 7,500 packages carried.

While these figures are up significantly compared to 2013 (93 reported events, or 1 in 10,000 packages carried), IRSN believes that this trend should not however be interpreted as a deterioration of the safety level of the transport of radioactive materials. Indeed, it is largely explained by better detection of events relevant to safety by the actors concerned and therefore their declaration to the authorities.

None of these events had significant radiological consequences for the workers, the population or the environment.

As part of progress made, IRSN notes a sharp decrease, in 2015, in the number of damage of packages intended for medical activities during their handling in airport areas. This decrease is linked to awareness actions conducted for airlines companies and staff involved in the handling of packages.

Finally, three themes must be the subject of particular vigilance of the actors concerned and of corrective actions:

  • Compliance with the requirements for the transport of gamma radiography devices, in particular those associated with the locking of the source; events related to the transport of gamma radiography devices appeared as remarkable events over the period (3 level 1 events and 1 level 2 events);
  • The tie-down of packages on their means of transport, given the risks of fall of the package during transport, as well as tie-down of the objects in their transport container;
  • The operations of filling and closing of drums containing uranium ore in order to avoid contamination of the outer surface of these drums and of their means of transport.

Download the report “Safety of the Transport of Radioactive Materials for Civilian Use in France. Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2014 and 2015" (PDF, 3,3 Mo)

Read the flipbook version of the report

Download the infographic

 

Transport of radioactive materials: Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2012 and 2013

Publication date: 13/05/2015

Download the infographicEvery two years since 2008, IRSN has published in a report the lessons learnt from its analysis of significant events involving the transport of radioactive materials for civilian purposes in France. Each year in France, some 770,000 shipments of radioactive materials for civilian use are done by road, railway, inland waterway, sea and air.

For 2012 and 2013, the report did not find evidence of degradation compared with previous years, particularly for industrial activities in the nuclear power industry, which raise the most significant safety issues. Since 1999, approximately a hundred events are reported each year, which represents, on average, one event per 10,000 packages transported. IRSN notes that none of the events that occurred over the two years had an impact on public health or environmental protection.

Events involving a defect in the closure of spent fuel shipping packages and deviations concerning the content of the packages, which had increased in 2010 and 2011, are now down. It would seem to confirm that the organizational measures implemented by those sending the packages have had a positive impact.

Previous trends which brought to light failures in the preparation of packages and their handling, in particular in the medical sector, have been confirmed. Even if most of the packages concerned contain low levels of radioactivity, recurrence of these events confirms the value of implementing appropriate preventive actions on the part of the companies involved. Lastly, descriptions of several typical events that occurred in 2012 and 2013 provide illustrations of the analyses that were performed on actual cases.

Download the report “Safety of the Transport of Radioactive Materials for Civilian Use in France. Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2012 and 2013" (PDF, 4,67 Mo)
Download the infographic with key figures and analysis (PDF)

 

Transport of radioactive materials: IRSN draws lessons from events reported between 1999 and 2011

Publication date: 22/03/2013

In its role of technical support of the authorities for safety and protection against radiations, IRSN has a mission of assessment that covers the design, the manufacturing, the testing and the use of packaging and transport system. It also takes part in the emergency response in the event of anomalies, incidents or accidents (known in a generic way as “events”). To assist with this work, IRSN manages a database that lists all events reported for transport.

IRSN publishes a new report about transport events involving radioactive materials that occurred in France from 1999 to 2011. For each of the 1 304 events recorded, many parameters have been collected and analysed from information listed in the declarations and reports of events sent by users (type of event, purpose, package design, INES level, etc.).

The number of events declared in 2010 and 2011 is slightly higher than the average of 100 events per year. The two main reasons for declaration concern errors in transport documentation or labelling and handling mishaps. The new data confirm the downward trend in frequency of package and vehicle contaminations. A short description of outstanding events in 2010 and 2011 is included. This assessment also gives an outline of the actions recommended by IRSN to avoid recurrence of declared events and improve the safety of radioactive material transport.. 

Download IRSN report 2013-003E « Assessment of events involving transport of radioactive materials in France, 1999-2011 » (pdf)

                 


Incidents in transport of radioactive materials for civil use: Analysis 1999-2007

Publication date : 21/10/2008

In its role of technical support of the authorities for safety and protection against radiations, IRSN has a mission of assessment that covers the design, the manufacturing, the testing and the use of packaging and transport system. It also takes part in the emergency response in the event of anomalies, incidents or accidents (known in a generic way as “events”). To assist with this work, IRSN manages a database that lists all events reported for transport.

With the aim of improving transport safety by having changes made to packaging, practices and regulations, IRSN has carried out a transversal analysis of events in transport of radioactive materials for civil use that occurred in France between 1999 and 2007. This report sets out the types of event, the way they have changed over time and general lessons which might be learned from them.

Download the information report “Incidents in transport of radioactive materials for civil use: IRSN draws lessons from events reported between 1999 and 2007” (PDF file)


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