Archive: Nov 2020

Types of Radioactive Shipping Containers

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Radioactive material releases harmful radioactive emissions that can be dangerous if not properly encapsulated and handled. Radioactive containers are used to safely contain these radioactive materials, shielding the surrounding environment (and personnel) from radiation exposure. 

At Frontier Technology Corporation, we design and create radioactive shipping containers that can hold californium-252 and other neutron sources (with the exception of gamma sources – these require lead containers) during transport to a facility or field site. These containers can also eventually be used to send depleted sources back to our location for proper disposal.

In this article, we will outline the different types of radioactive containers available, the radioactive materials they can carry, and how they work.

Type A Containers

Type-A Shipping Containers
Type A containers handle radioactive material by eliminating the risk of content leakage or exposure. These containers are built from shielding material that allows them to hold and safely ship Special Form radioactive isotopic materials. They effectively and reliably maintain their integrity throughout shipping, delivery, and short-term storage applications. 

Type A containers must pass compression, free-fall, penetration, and water spray tests to ensure the integrity of the container. Californium-252 and radiopharmaceuticals are examples of materials that can be shipped in Type A containers. 

At FTC, each of our Type A containers are built to hold neutron sources and meets or exceeds U.S. DOT Type-A certification standards. We provide Type A containers in varying sizes, shield strengths, and other options to meet the needs of any circumstance.  Our standard sizes are 5-gallon (Model 50240), 30-gallon (Model 50220), and 55-gallon (Model 50200). Type A containers may be rented or purchased. Our containers are suitable for international shipping. As mentioned previously, our Type A containers are not suitable for gamma-ray sources – these require lead containers.

Type B Containers

Type B containers meet stringent standards and have powerful shielding materials, allowing them to safely contain radioactive cargo that may exceed Type A containers’ specifications. Materials that require Type B containers, such as spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors, pose a much higher risk of releasing radiation and endangering people or environments nearby. Type B containers can satisfactorily shield against radiation and protect the integrity of the contents even through accidents and impacts.

These containers must also undergo stringent testing to ensure the contents stay safely isolated during travel. Along with standard Type A container tests, Type B containers must withstand drops from higher heights, puncture testing, pressurized immersion testing, and exposure to extreme heat. 

Industrial/Excepted Packaging

Industrial packaging is a category for materials that have a low radioactive emission potential. The risk posed by these items is minimal, so they can be shipped internationally in specialized industrial packaging that offers a suitable degree of protection for handlers, nearby workers, and the surrounding environment. Potentially contaminated laboratory clothes are a good example of low-level materials that can be shipped via industrial packaging.

There are three types of industrial packaging, each of which has different general requirements that specify the types of shielding material and the degree of labeling required for each package. The three categories increase in severity and include:

  • Type 1 (IP-1)
  • Type 2 (IP-2)
  • Type 3 (IP-3)

Excepted packaging is used for another class of radioactive material. These packages have significantly less stringent packaging, labeling, or documentation requirements compared to industrial packaging. While potentially radioactive, materials shipped in excepted packaging ultimately pose a very low risk of emission, even if the contents are accidentally released. To be considered an excepted package, the containers must have two UN ID numbers that meet the standards set by 49 CFR 173.422 and the Hazardous Materials Table of 49 CFR 172.101, respectively. 

Choose Frontier Technology Corporation for Type-A Radioactive Shipping Containers

Frontier Technology Corporation is a leading provider of Type-A shipping containers for radioactive materials. Our containers ensure that radioactivity is managed throughout sources’ lifecycle. Contact us today to learn about our radioactive packaging and customization capabilities.