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ONR inspectors explain regulation of transport of radioactive materials in Great Britain

Inspectors from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) have been explaining the role of ONR’s Transport Competent Authority (TCA) to industry stakeholders.

Representatives from the TCA spoke at last week's ‘Learning from Experience: Radioactive Materials Transport' seminar, organised by the Society for Radiological Protection (SRP).

Held in Glasgow, Nicola Jaynes and Paul Butler described how ONR regulates the transport of civil Class 7 Dangerous Goods (radioactive material) by road, rail and inland waterways in Great Britain.

The event explored what dutyholders can expect before, during and after an ONR transport compliance inspection, described the various formats these can take, summarised common inspection findings and outlined how ONR requires dutyholders to address identified non-compliances.

The importance of transport radiation risk assessments (RRAs) was emphasised, particularly how RRAs must be used by dutyholders to decide on the type of transport emergency arrangements that are required to be produced.

ONR’s inspectors also gave a summary of learning from transport events in recent years, together with an explanation of the process for reporting events to the regulator.

Also contributing to the seminar from an industry perspective were dutyholders and their safety advisers (Radiation Protection Advisers and Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers) who have recent experience of ONR transport compliance inspections.

The University of Manchester and its safety adviser, the UK Health Security Agency, spoke about how the university had responded to a prohibition notice served on the university in April 2022.

Similarly, representatives from dnata Ltd and its safety adviser, Onephoton Ltd, shared their experiences of responding to an improvement notice served on the company in January 2023.

Presentations were also given by representatives from HMNB Clyde, BAE Systems, NTS Global and L2 Business Consulting Ltd.

Nicola said: "This SRP seminar was a really valuable forum for ONR to provide guidance on how dutyholders can comply with the legal requirements for transporting civil radioactive material.

"It also gave transport dutyholders a unique opportunity to share their experiences of interacting with ONR, which we can use to improve how we regulate going forward."

Paul added: "The industry is constantly changing, with new providers entering the Class 7 Dangerous Goods transport sector, some of whom may be unfamiliar with legislative requirements.

"It is important that we get the message across about what is expected of dutyholders, so they can ensure they are legally compliant at all times.”