Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulates the packaging and transport of nuclear substances in Canada in cooperation with Transport Canada. The transport of nuclear substances must comply with transport regulations for the entire journey of a shipment, from its initial packaging to arrival at its destination.
On the international level, all industrialized countries use the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (TS-R-1) Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material as the basis to regulate the packaging and transport of radioactive material. The CNSC’s Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations (PTNS Regulations) refer to the IAEA TS-R-1 Regulations and apply to all persons who handle, offer to transport, transport or receive nuclear substances.
Through the PTNS Regulations, the CNSC ensures that every shipment of nuclear substances conforms to all established safety standards. In all cases, the health, safety and security of the public and the environment must be protected.
The CNSC’s responsibilities include:
- certifying the design of the transport packages
- registering users of certified packages
- conducting inspections of shipments of nuclear substances for compliance with applicable regulations
- licensing shipments of nuclear substances where licences are required
- ensuring that radiation protection programs for transport are in place
All nuclear substances are transported in packages that are selected based on the nature, form, and quantity or activity of the substance. There are general design requirements specified in the CNSC regulations that apply to all package types to ensure that they can be handled safely and easily, secured properly, and are able to withstand routine conditions of transport.
More than 1 million packages containing nuclear substances are shipped to, from and within Canada every year. The majority of these are routine shipments containing low-risk quantities of nuclear substances. The contents of these packages can include:
- consumer products, such as smoke detectors
- medical products, such as radioisotopes used for diagnostic imaging procedures
- nuclear fuel cycle products such as uranium ore and uranium fuel bundles for nuclear power plants
- industrial products such as moisture density gauges used in construction
All packages used to transport nuclear substances must conform to basic safety performance requirements specified in the regulations. Packages designed for the transport of high-risk quantities require certification by the CNSC before they can be used in Canada.
- CNSC fact sheets:
- Frequently asked questions on the transportation of used nuclear fuel
- Frequently asked questions on packaging and transporting nuclear substances
- Learn more about the certification process for transport packages
- Read about the licensing process for the transportation of nuclear substances
- CNSC Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations
- Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Good Regulations
- CNSC regulatory document RD-364, Joint Canada – United States Guide for Approval of Type B(U) and Fissile Material Transportation Packages
- CNSC guidance document GD-314, Radiation Protection Program Design for the Transport of Nuclear Substances
- IAEA TS-G-1.1, Advisory Material for the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material