Radioactive Waste – Transfer to Shore

Key Legislation

These regulations make provision for the transport in Great Britain of radioactive material and set out the responsibilities of consignors and carriers. These Regulations are unlikely to come into force before March 2004. Until that time the 1996 Regulations will continue to apply.

These Regulations revoke and replace the Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste Regulations 1993. The Regulations extend the scope of the 1993 Regulations to include spent nuclear fuel for re-processing as well as shipments of radioactive waste.

Guidance HSE Offshore Safety Division Operations Notice 4 – Radioactive Substances Act 1993

Special Waste Explanatory Note 019 – Radioactive Waste

Managing the use and disposal of radioactive and nuclear substances and waste

Use of Registered Carrier

The Duty of Care makes it the waste producers (consignors) responsibility to ensure that waste is only transferred to an appropriately licensed carrier, carrying an appropriate approval certificate issued under the Radioactive Material (Road Transport) Regulations. The Carrier must also display the appropriate identification marks on the vehicle.

If waste is also classified as Special or Hazardous Waste due to its characteristics (e.g. toxicity), Special Waste/Hazardous Regulations will also apply (see Transfer of Special/Hazardous Waste and SWEN 019).

Transport of Waste from Offshore

If the waste is being transferred from offshore, the Road Transport Regulations do not apply to the transfer vessel, but will apply once this waste is transferred onshore. Vessels carrying radioactive materials must comply with the Merchant Shipping Regulations and stow and label goods in accordance with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. The ships manifest must also detail all the dangerous goods being carried.

Note: Transport of some radioactive material is exempt from registration under RSA93 (e.g. closed sources).

Consignor and Carrier Responsibilities The Consignor must ensure the following:

  • That each package is correctly marked and labelled;
  • That freight containers are carrying appropriate placards;
  • Provide required information in the transport documents, including consignor name and address, the UN Number of the radioactive material, the name or symbol of each radionuclide, description of the physical and chemical form of the material, maximum radioactive activity, package category and transport index (as per the Regulations);
  • Provide information to the carrier on any actions required e.g. supplementary requirements for loading, stowage and handling and any emergency arrangements;
  • Notify the competent authority before the first shipment;
  • Retain copies of the certificate of approvals and a copy of the instructions regarding packaging and shipment preparation.

The Carrier also has a number of responsibilities under the Regulations, in particular:

  • Correct segregation and stowage of packages during transport and in storage when in transit;
  • If a consignment is undeliverable, the consignment must be placed in a safe location and the DfT/HSE informed as appropriate;
  • Carry appropriate fire fighting equipment.
How to Apply In writing to appropriate competent authority.
Who to Apply To DfT, HSE
When to Apply Before transfer of radioactive waste.
Safe Transport

The Radioactive Material (Road Transport) Regulations puts in place a system to ensure safe carriage of radioactive material by road. Similar controls are in place for transport by rail. The Regulations require carriers to be authorised by DfT/HSE and sets out packaging/stowage requirements for different types of radioactive material. Specific requirements are given for LSA.

Records to be Kept

The consignor of any consignment must retain any information regarding measurements of contamination of that consignment for a period of not less than 2 years. In addition information on packaging used must also be retained.


Not applicable.

Non-compliance Non-compliance with the Regulations is an offence liable to a financial penalty or term of imprisonment.
Renewal of Permit

Not applicable. A consignment certificate must be issued for each transfer.

If the same packaging/radioactive contents is consigned as a package on a regular basis by the same consignor, who is also the carrier of that package, a regular consignment certificate may be issued.

EC Proposal (COM (2012) 561) for a Council Regulation to establish a Community system for registration of carriers of radioactive materials On the 28th September 2012 the European Commission publishd aproposal for a Council Regulation on establishing a single registration system of carriers of radioactive materials.


None at present