The Rules of Transporting and Incident Response of Radioactive Materials

The transportation of radioactive materials and other hazardous materials is usually regulated by various entities including the Department of Transportation (DOT). The regulations lie within the areas of packaging content, labeling, radiation levels, and shipping. Before transportation, the levels of the radioactive material must be checked to confirm that they are within the level allowed.

When it comes to packaging, the material must be strong enough to contain the content and keep it safe from dissemination even in cases of an accident. The size of the regulated packaging increases with the increasing size of the materials being transported. The packages must also have labels on the sides to indicate the type of material being transported. The labels indicate the kind and amount of materials inside these packages. The outer parts of containers or the vehicles transporting the materials must also have regulated placards that meet the specifications of DOT. These elements are important to inform the public about the presence of hazardous materials (“Understanding Shipping Labels and Placards for Radioactive Materials, 2019’’). Since the materials pose danger, the public must be informed of their presence. Again, the labels, placards, and markings used during shipping inform the emergency responders of the type of materials they’re dealing with in case of an accident.

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When the vehicle transporting the radioactive material collides with another vehicle, the best thing that first responders do is to approach the site with caution. The chemical reaction taking place could cause toxic fumes, fire, electrical hazards or explosions. The responders must be given information about the cargo from placards, labeling markings and shipping documents. They must follow the normal protocol for using protective clothes for respiratory protection. The first responders must seal the contaminated area and initiate measures that will prevent further release of the hazardous material. 

ReferencesRemm.nlm.gov. (2019). Understanding Shipping Labels and Placards for Radioactive Materials – Radiation Emergency Medical Management. [online] Available at: https://www.remm.nlm.gov/transportation_hazard_id.htm [Accessed 24 Sep. 2019].

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