Non-compliance with regulations during transport of radioactive material

On 22 June 2004, a transport of radioactive material from the Laboratory for Solid State Physics (LSSP) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich to the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in W├╝renlingen (Switzerland) was performed. The LSSP was the consignor and the PSI the consignee. The PSI, which is experienced in transporting all types of radioactive material, had the function of the transport coordinator with main transport responsibility. The transport was carried out by a licensed company and escorted by a responsible PSI staff member. The two packages were marked with UN 2908 (empty) and UN 2915 (type A), respectively. After arriving at the PSI, the material was stored in the hot laboratory, which is designed to handle open sources. On the next day, the package marked as empty was controlled and found to be loaded with an Am-241-source of 2.7 GBq. An in-depth investigation showed additional non-compliances with regulations. Four months later, the event was notified to the authority.
The main non-compliances referred to transporting fissile material (8.0 GBq Pu-239) without a valid transport licence and violating the activity limit of the type A package. To pack all sources into one single package (8.0 GBq Pu-239 and 14.7 GBq Am-241, i.e. 22.7 GBq total activity), the type A package was used without inner shield. As a result, the activity limit was exceeded by a factor of about 23.
During the transport, neither was any person exposed to a measurable dose value, nor occurred any radioactive release or contamination.

Location: Paul Scherrer Institute; Wuerenlingen,
Event date: Tue, 22-06-2004
Nuclear event report
Legenda & explanation