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ONR publishes Transport of Radioactive Materials UK incidents report

10 September 2012

Produced by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and commissioned by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the 2011 review into ‘Radiological Consequences Resulting from Accidents and Incidents Involving the Transport of Radioactive Materials in the UK’ is designed to help ONR to assess the radiological impact from incidents over the course of a year. 

A nuclear waste flask being transferred from low loader to railway wagon at Sizewell
A nuclear waste flask being transferred from low loader to railway wagon at Sizewell

Nicholas Barton from the radioactive materials transport programme said of the report: “It is really helpful to have information about incidents in one place like this.  Up to half a million packages containing radioactive materials are safely transported to, from, and within the United Kingdom every year, but it is important to take account of the small number of rare incidents that can happen.” 

“Making this report publicly available is also one of the ways in which the transport programme fulfils ONR’s aim of being an open and transparent regulator.” 

The incidents contained in this report will  feed into a radioactive materials transport event database, which helps ONR inspectors assess the impact over time.

This report includes descriptions of 38 accidents and incidents involving the transport of radioactive materials from, to, or within the United Kingdom, which occurred in 2011. This compared with 30 events in 2010, 33 in 2009, 39 in 2008, 26 in 2007 and 29 in 2006. Of the 38 events included in this review 11 involved irradiated nuclear fuel flasks (there were also 8 such events in 2010). Only one of the events reported, involving the transport of a radiopharmaceutical source, resulted in any potentially significant radiation dose.

The details of these events have been entered into the RAdioactive Material Transport Event Database (RAMTED), which now contains information on 1018 events that are known to have occurred since 1958.

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