Nuclear Engineering Division

Packaging Certification and Life-Cycle Management Group

Packaging Certification

RFID in barrel

The mission of the DOE Packaging Certification Program (PCP) of the Office of Packaging and Transportation, Office of Environmental Management (EM-33), is to ensure the safety of packagings for radioactive and fissile materials and support vital DOE missions across the DOE Complex, as well as EM's risk reduction, cleanup, and site-closure activities. For a description of the PCP, see Success Stories, Challenges, and Strategic Directions (Flash is required to view this brochure).

Since 1986, Argonne National Laboratory has provided DOE with an independent review and evaluation of the information contained in the Safety Analysis Reports for Packaging (SARP), which describe the packaging used to transport radioactive materials. Argonne's SARP Review Group conducts a technical review and evaluation to confirm, for DOE, the ability of the packaging to meet all DOE orders and federal regulations for safe transport. The process ensures that a consistent and independent review is performed and yet maintains the authority granted to DOE by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for the packaging evaluation and certification.

Argonne's SARP Review Group operates independently of other programs and includes staff representing relevant disciplines and who have the experience necessary to perform in-depth review and confirmatory evaluation of the entire range of information in the SARP, which is a voluminous document consisting of nine chapters: General Information and Drawings, Structural, Thermal, Containment, Shielding, Criticality, Operating Procedures, Acceptance Tests and Maintenance, and Quality Assurance. Together, these chapters in the SARP should demonstrate that a radioactive and fissile material package meets all safety standards and federal regulations. The primary goal of the review is to verify and ensure that the packaging will perform as intended under both normal conditions of transport and hypothetical accidents.

Baltimore Tunnel Fire

Over the years, the Argonne SARP Review Group has reviewed many SARPs for various fissile and radioactive material contents, including uranium, plutonium, source capsules, fuel elements, and waste, among others. In addition to SARP review for packaging certification, the Argonne SARP Review Group also supports DOE in the areas of packaging standards development, quality assurance audits, training, and other technical assistance, as required. The Group presents three annual training courses on “Quality Assurance for Radioactive Material Packaging,” “ASME Pressure Vessel Code for Nuclear Transport and Storage” and "Security of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material during Transport," which contains two elements for international and U.S. domestic transport security, respectively. The Group also conducts training and certification for users of the ARG-US Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system.

Last updated: 01/23/17