Radioactive Transport Changes

Operators transporting radioactive materials should in the future only have to deal with one centralised system authorisation and reporting requirements. This is expected to simplify the current state of affairs, with cross-border movements of radioactive materials needing to pass through multiple national systems.

The Commission today proposed a new harmonised system for the registration of carriers transporting radioactive materials in the EU. The single registration system is expected to allow Member States to continue ensuring basic standards for the protection of the health of workers and the public in general against ionising radiation, while simplifying procedures.

International Rules

Regulations on the transport of radioactive materials are set up by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna and transposed into national legislation of each country. The EU ensures that these provisions are in conformity with the Council Directives on radiation protection and that they do not create obstacles to trade in the internal market.

Scope of the Proposal

The proposal applies to all carriers transporting radioactive materials within the EU, from third countries into the EU and from the EU into third countries. Carriers transporting radioactive materials by air and sea are not covered by the Regulation.

For the purpose of the Regulation, a carrier covers any person, organisation or public transporting radioactive material; including carriers operating on the basis of hire or reward arrangements. Loading, storage in transit and unloading are included in the operation of transport.

Radioactive material covers any material containing radionuclides where activity concentration and the total activity in the consignment exceeds the values set out in the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material

A European System for Carrier Registration

Carriers of radioactive materials have to hold a valid registration which allows the carrier to transport radioactive materials throughout the EU. If the carrier holds a valid licence or registration issued under the Directive on basic safety standards for workers and the public against ionising radiation it is allowed to transport these materials without registration under this Regulation if the transportation is included in the licenses or registration for all Member States where the transport takes place.

Additional national reporting and authorisation requirements may only apply to carriers transporting the following materials: 
• Fissile material, except for natural uranium or depleted uranium
• High consequence dangerous goods which have the potential for misuse in a terrorist incident and have serious consequences.
The European System for Carrier Registration (ESCR) will be set up to supervise and control the transport of radioactive materials. The ESCR is responsible for receiving the applications from carriers and issuing registration certificates if the information submitted by applicants is complete. The ESCR is obliged to give access to the competent national authorities of the data concerning registered carriers.

Registration Procedure

As regards the registration procedure, carriers have to apply for registration through the ESCR by submitting an electronic application form as set out in Annex I to the Regulation. The information to be presented must include: 
• whether the request is for a new certificate, a modification or a renewal of an existing registration; 
• the applicants identity; 
• the nature of transport - namely if it is by road, rail or inland waterway; 
• the geographical coverage;
• the type of consignments which relates to the radioactive material to be transported.

The processing of the application is carried out by the competent authority of the Member State where the head office of the applicant is established. In case the applicant is established in a third country, the relevant Member State is the one where the carrier will first enter the EU.

If the competent national authority considers that the information submitted is complete it will issue the certificate with the information contained in Annex II to the Regulation through the ESCR. The information to be provided in the certificate includes: 
• a registration reference number, 
• the identification of the carrier, 
• the mode of transport to be used, 
• the Member States where the certificate is applicable and 
• the package type identifying the radioactive material to be transported.

The certificate of carrier registration has to be recognised by all Member States and is valid for a period of five years, with possibility of renewal.

Enforcement of the System

In case a carrier does not comply with the rules set out in the Regulation, the competent national authority may have recourse to measures such as written notices, training and education, suspension or revocation of the registration depending on the seriousness of non-compliance.

An enforcement action has to be communicated to the competent authorities of the Member State where the carrier was expected to transport radioactive materials, accompanied of all the information and a statement of reasons as regards the enforcement action applied.

Member State Authorities and National Contact Point

Within a month of the entry into force of the Regulation, each Member State is required to designate a competent authority and a national contact point for the transport of radioactive materials. This information has to be forwarded to the Commission to ensure rapid communication between national and EU level.

Cooperation between Member State Authorities

In order to harmonise the requirements of issuing registrations, the competent authorities in the different Member States are expected to cooperate closely amongst each other. If there is more than one competent authority in a Member State, responsibilities have to be well defined between them. Namely, competent authorities should exchange information between each other and with the national contact point.

Expert Group Assistance

The Commission will set up an expert group comprised of experts nominated by the Member States and by the Commission to advise and assist the Commission in carrying out the tasks laid down in the Regulation.

Next Steps

The Commission proposal follows a special legislative procedure laid down under the Euratom Treaty. The European Parliament can give its opinion on the proposal but cannot reject or propose amendments to the text. The Council has to adopt the proposal by a qualified majority.