Impact of BSSD 2013 on Transport of Class 7 Dangerous Goods

CDG 2009 (as amended) regulates the transport of dangerous goods and enact the use of ADR (road) and RID (rail) frameworks in the UK, CDG 2009 also has specific sections which deal with Class 7 dangerous goods (radioactive materials), Regulation 24 and the related Schedule 2, which set out the regulatory requirements in relation to preparing for and responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies which occur during the carriage of radioactive material.

The transport of radioactive material is also defined as a practice in the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (as it was under IRR99), therefore organisations which transport radioactive materials must also comply with the relevant regulatory requirements for practices under IRR17, in addition to the requirements of CDG 2009 (as amended).

This news item is largely written from the perspective of non-nuclear industry duty holders, and considers the relevant provisions of the BSSD 2013 that will be enacted in the UK (discussed in the recent HMG consultation document published in October 2017) by a planned revision of CDG 2009 in early 2018 and specifically will include the following:

  • Definition of an Emergency – this already exists in CDG 2009 but will be amended to reflect the requirement of BSSD 2013 (which includes explicit reference to the protection of property or the environment) and will align current IAEA definition. Overall the final definition used will align to the updated version of Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 (REPPIR). Overall the changed definition is not expected to have a significant impact upon duty holders.
  • Definition of Emergency Worker and prior information and training for emergency workers – no specific definition of an emergency worker in CDG 2009 or other related UK law, therefore this will be added into CDG 2009 and that these workers identified in emergency response plans have their training and information about the risks they are taking regularly updated. Schedule 2 to CDG 2009 currently requires the Consignor and the Carrier of radioactive materials to have a written emergency plan, and that the driver, the Consignor and the Carrier assist with the intervention in the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency. The changes will require that anyone in an emergency plan with a role in providing assistance will be included in the definition of an emergency worker.
  • Reference levels – these do not currently exist in the UK; therefore, UK HMG intends to develop new National Reference Levels to address emergency exposure situations. When the new guidance is developed, duty holder will need to consider it when creating/updating emergency plans in relation to the transport of radioactive material.
  • Emergency response – CDG 2009 already requires the driver or emergency service if the driver is unable to do so to notify the ONR of the emergency. The Carrier and Consignor must also initiate the emergency arrangements in respect any radiological emergency and assist in the intervention. The majority of this area relates to the varying layers of national response to emergency situations. Overall it is not envisaged that the requirement relating to emergency response in BSSD 2013 will alter the current arrangements in the UK.
  • Provision of information to public likely to be affected – The provision of information to the public is a current requirement of CDG 2009 where ONR considers the public are likely to be affected by a radiation emergency. In such circumstances, the Carriers and Consignees must provide the public with the specified information stipulated. CDG 2009 also requires that the information is updated regularly and that the Carrier and Consignee liaise with ONR and the local authority in producing and distributing the information. Overall it is not envisaged that the requirement relating to the provision of information to the public in BSSD 2013 will alter the current arrangements in the UK.
  • Provision of information to public actually affected – this aspect of BSSD address that if members of the public are actually affected by an emergency they are informed without delay about the facts of the emergency, the steps to be taken and, as appropriate, the health protection measures applicable. These requirements are currently covered by REPPIR and hence it is not envisaged that these requirements will substantially alter the current arrangements in the UK.
  • Emergency management system – this requires that the UK develops a suitable emergency management system as detailed in BSSD 2013 that address emergencies from within the UK and from outside the UK, including the specific elements to be included in an emergency response plan. This is currently addressed at a site-specific level by REPPIR, then additionally by generic emergency planning at local/national levels and for smaller postulated doses via the Ionising Radiation Regulations. UK HMG has proposed some changes to current arrangements including proportionate and graded approach to planning for emergencies. It is likely to be requirements for the carrier and consignor to make a full assessment of the consequences of the emergency and the effectiveness of the plan in responding to it. It is envisaged that the plans will be designed to be commensurate with the results of an assessment of potential emergency exposure situations and ensure they will result in a reduction of the exposure to individuals.
  • Emergency preparedness – this requires that emergency response plans are established in advance for the various types of emergencies identified by an assessment of potential emergency exposure situations. UK HMG believes that this is largely in place as it is covered by REPPIR and IRR99 (soon to replaced by IRR17). It is proposed to explicitly make the link between the risk assessment made under the IRRs to the emergency plan required by Schedule 2 of CDG09. Existing ONR guidance sets out the immediate notifications to be made, actions to protect the driver, actions to protect the public, actions to protect the emergency services, how to prevent the situation from escalating, actions to ensure the radioactive materials remain secure, and the actions to be taken by the consignor. A new aspect in BSSD 2013 is that emergency response plans produced by operators shall also include provision for the transition from an emergency exposure situation to an existing exposure situation, which will be a new requirement in the update to CDG 2009, this will include the requirement to provide a handover report to be submitted to the relevant authority. BSSD 2013 requires that emergency response plans must be reviewed, revised and tested at suitable intervals, existing ONR guidance provides more information on this including the need to include the requirement to record learning points. It is not envisaged that there will be any substantive changes to existing arrangements.
  • Enforcement – the existing regulatory enforcement powers for HSE and ONR are deemed compliant to the requirements of BSSD 2013. The information gathered by HSE using the graded approach, will be used to inform ONR inspection regime.

We will now need to await publication of the revised CDG09 regulations to see what the finalised requirements will be. If you have any queries relating to the carriage of dangerous goods, please contact L2 for advice from one of our Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers (DGSAs) who are specialists in the transport of all forms of radioactive materials and wastes. As well as advice from our DGSA’s, L2 also provide training for anyone involved in the transport of Class 7 dangerous goods.