Radioactive material is defined in 49 CFR 173.403 as any material containing radionuclides where both the activity concentration and the total activity in the consignment exceed the values specified in the table in 49 CFR 173.436 or values derived according to the instructions in 49 CFR 173.433.
The following conditions apply:
- International Mail. Radioactive material is prohibited in international mail if required to bear a Class 7 Radioactive White–I, Radioactive Yellow–II, or Radioactive Yellow–III hazardous materials warning label (see Exhibit 325.1). See IMM 135.5 for the specific admissibility requirements that are applicable to international shipments of radioactive material. Mailable radioactive materials shipments may be sent only via First-Class Package International Service with Registered Mail service.
- Domestic Mail via Air Transportation. All radioactive material is prohibited in domestic air transportation.
- Domestic Mail via Surface Transportation. Radioactive material is prohibited if it is required to bear a Class 7 Radioactive White–I, Radioactive Yellow–II, Radioactive Yellow–III hazardous materials warning label, or the Fissile label (see Exhibit 325.1). Mailable radioactive materials may not have an activity content that exceeds the limits in Exhibit 347.22 (which are one–tenth of the values specified in 49 CFR 173.425), and must be one of the following materials (proper shipping names and/or UN identification numbers in 49 CFR 172.101):
- A radioactive material eligible to be shipped as a limited quantity under 49 CFR 172.101, Radioactive material, excepted
package — Limited quantity of material, UN2910.
- An excepted instrument, article, or device including an instrument and manufactured article (such as a clock, electronic tube, or apparatus) or a similar device that has a radioactive material in gaseous or nondispersible solid form as a component part, Radioactive material, excepted package — instruments or articles, UN2911.
- An excepted article containing natural uranium or thorium, including manufactured articles in which the sole radioactive material is natural or depleted uranium or natural thorium, Radioactive material, excepted package — articles manufactured from natural uranium or depleted uranium or natural thorium, UN2909.
Any package bearing, or required to bear, one of the Class 7 hazardous materials warning labels for radioactive materials shown in Exhibit 325.1 is nonmailable under any conditions. Report nonmailable materials found in the mailstream to the appropriate officials in accordance with POM 139.117 and 139.118, as applicable. See 347.5 for emergency procedures.
As stated in 347.2, the only categories of radioactive material that are mailable in international mail or in domestic mail via surface transportation are those that do not have an activity level exceeding the limits in
Exhibit 347.22 and are eligible under 49 CFR to be shipped as excepted packages for limited quantities; excepted packages for instruments and articles; and excepted packages for articles containing natural uranium or thorium. The mailer must provide accurate documentation of the activity limits, which must not exceed those specified in Exhibit 347.22.
Activity Limits for Mailable Instruments, Articles, and Limited Quantity Radioactive Materials
1. For mixture of radionuclides, see 49 CFR 173.433(d).
2. These values also apply to tritium in activated luminous paint and tritium adsorbed on solid carriers.
The following packaging requirements apply:
- Limited Quantities (49 CFR 173.421). Radioactive materials whose activity per package does not exceed the limits specified in Exhibit 347.22 are excepted from specification packaging, marking, and labeling requirements. All applicable conditions for Packaging Instruction 7A in Appendix C must be met.
- Instruments and Articles (49 CFR 173.424). Instruments and manufactured articles (including clocks, electronic tubes, or apparatus) or similar devices having radioactive materials in gaseous or nondispersible solid form as a component part (whose activity level does not exceed the limits specified in Exhibit 347.22) are excepted from specification packaging, marking, and labeling requirements. All applicable conditions for Packaging Instruction 7A in Appendix C must be met.
- Excepted Articles Containing Uranium or Thorium (49 CFR 173.426). Manufactured articles in which the sole radioactive material is natural or depleted uranium or natural thorium (whose activity level does not exceed the limits specified in Exhibit 347.22) are excepted from specification packaging, marking, and labeling requirements. All applicable conditions for Packaging Instruction 7A in Appendix C must be met.
- For mailpieces intended for domestic transportation, the radiation level at any point on the external surface of the mailpiece must not exceed 0.5 millirem per hour.
The outside of the inner receptacle or the outside of the secondary packaging must be marked “Radioactive.” The address side of the mailpiece must clearly and prominently display one of the following markings, as applicable:
- Mailable Limited Quantity Shipments. “This package conforms to the conditions and limitations specified in 49 CFR 173.421 for radioactive material, excepted package—limited quantity of material, UN2910, and is within Postal Service activity limits for mailing.”
- Mailable Instruments and Articles. “This package conforms to the conditions and limitations specified in 49 CFR 173.424 for radioactive material, excepted package—instruments or articles, UN2911, and is within Postal Service activity limits for mailing.”
- Mailable Excepted Articles Containing Uranium or Thorium. “This package conforms to the conditions and limitations specified in 49 CFR 173.426 for radioactive material, excepted package—articles manufactured from natural uranium (or natural thorium), UN2909, and is within Postal Service activity limits for mailing.”
When a nonmailable package of radioactive material is discovered intact in the mailstream, the following procedures must be immediately followed:
- Place the parcel at least 15 feet from other mail or personnel. Under no circumstances may the package be dispatched.
- Report the mailpiece to the appropriate officials in accordance with POM 139.117 and 139.118, as applicable.
- If a package of radioactive material is damaged or is leaking, immediately contact the facility safety officer (or designee). The safety officer will:
The local postmaster or facility manager must immediately request the assistance of qualified persons to check radiation hazards and to supervise the salvage and decontamination. This assistance may be received from the mailer (if known) or from one of the following contacts: Nearest office of the Department of Energy (DOE) as listed in Exhibit 347.5c(1) or DOE’s national emergency number and website are:
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE)
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
- Local health, fire, or police departments.
- Local civil defense authorities.
- Nearby military installations.
- Nearby scientific laboratories.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose national emergency numbers and websites are as follows:
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (NRC)
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
NATIONAL RESPONSE CENTER
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA)
NATIONAL EMERGENCY COORDINATION CENTER
DOE Regional Coordinating Offices
Department of Energy
Regional Coordinating Offices for
Geographical Areas of Responsibility
Regional Coordinating Office
Telephone for Assistance
- Brookhaven, NY
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont
- Oak Ridge, TN
Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia (includes Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands)
- Savannah River, SC
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
- Albuquerque, NM
Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
- Chicago, IL
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
- Idaho Falls, ID
Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming
- Oakland, CA
California, Hawaii, Nevada
- Richland, WA
Alaska, Oregon, Washington
Headquarters – Washington, DC