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Transport of Hazardous and Radioactive Materials

The only official copy of this file is the one on-line in the NSLS website. Before using a printed copy, verify that it is the most current version by checking the document effective date on the NSLS website.
Brookhaven National Laboratory NSLS
Document No: LS-ESH-0017
Revision: 4 Revision Log
Effective: 10/31/10
Subject: Transport of Hazardous and Radioactive Materials
Prepared by: Lori Stiegler Approved by: Andrew Ackerman

The following outline contains guidance for shipping hazardous or radioactive materials to and from the BNL site and for on site transfers. All Staff and Users must adhere to Laboratory Subject Areas which are paraphrased in these guidelines when making plans to move materials either by a commercial carrier or in rented or personal vehicles. This topic is broken into off site and on site transport. Off site transport refers to shipping between BNL and other institutions. On site transport refers to transport of materials between buildings on the BNL site.

BNL Standard Based Management System (SBMS)

BNL has established good guidance for transport of hazardous and radioactive materials in the Standard Based Management System. The links to those subject areas are as follows:

On site Transport (between buildings at BNL)

Off site Transport (between BNL and other institutions) available on BNL Intranet only

Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Web Page

BNL has a good web page with information about transport of hazardous materials, points of contact, frequently asked questions, etc, at this URL:

Radioactive Materials

All radioactive material transport must be coordinated with the BNL Isotopes and Special Materials Group. They will help to package and transport radioactive materials for movement both on and off site. General guidelines follow:

For domestic shipments, all material with activity greater than the values specified in table 173.436 of 49 CFR173.403 are considered radioactive for transport purposes. No materials with a specific activity exceeding that value may be brought to or taken from the site in any way other than that described below.

Radioactive Materials Off site (between BNL and other institutions)

Sending radioactive materials from your home institution to the NSLS:

If your material is coming to BNL from off site, call the BNL Isotopes and Special Materials Group at extension 5241 for help. They will tell you what is required and will receive the package when it arrives at BNL. They will bring it to the Photon Sciences Radiological Control Division (RCD) Facility Support Technicians. You may pick up your package from them. Ship radioactive materials to:

U.S. Department of Energy
c/o Brookhaven National Laboratory
Bldg. 98, Receiving
Upton, NY 11973

ATTN: Isotopes & Special Materials Group
For: "Name of Recipient" and "Authorization Number"

Note: This includes radioactive material that is shipped by overnight carrier, i.e., Federal Express, DHL. Radioactive material is not to be shipped directly to the location of the Department/Division using it.

Note: The Radiological Control Division Facility Support Staff must survey the package before its contents are handled.

Sending radioactive materials off of the BNL site:

If your material is going off site, contact the RCD Facility Support Group at 5565 for guidance.  A project and activity number are required to process a shipping memo for shipments,  even if you are using prepaid shipping.  Contact your beam line Local Contact if you do not have project and activity numbers. 

Radioactive Materials On Site (between buildings at BNL)

The rules for transport of radioactive materials on site allow for some materials to be transported by the owner in government vehicles or by hand carrying. Requirements for moving materials this way include:

  • The package dose rate must be <100 mRem/hr on contact
  • Material activity may not exceed the dispersible limits established in Appendix E of 10 CFR 835
  • There must be no smearable contamination on the outside of the package greater than the release criteria
  • The material may not be accountable nuclear and/or fissile.

If you can meet the requirements for on-site transport by government vehicle or hand carrying, you must contact the Photon Sciences RCD Facility Support Representative  at extension 5565 for help. He will assist in completing the required paperwork and in obtaining approval for the transport.

If you cannot meet the requirements for on-site transport by government vehicle or hand carrying, then contact BNL Isotopes and Special Materials for direction.

Hazardous Materials

BNL procedures require that significant quantities of hazardous materials be shipped by a commercial or contract carrier between BNL and your home institution. Limited quantities of some materials may be transported in personal vehicles. Transport of hazardous materials in personal vehicles must comply with the rules for, Materials of Trade as discussed below. If your shipment does not meet the rules for Materials of Trade, you must make arrangements with a commercial or contract carrier. The BNL Materials of Trade (MOT) Table exhibit provides the quantity limits for MOT commonly used at BNL.

Materials of Trade

(On site and off site) Transport by personal vehicle.

Materials of Trade (MOT) are hazardous materials, other than hazardous wastes, that are transported in small quantities and carried on a motor vehicle by a private individual in direct support of that persons business.

The rules for transport of MOTs are less restrictive than those for commercial transport because of their lesser hazard. You need not have shipping papers, emergency response information, placards, formal training, or record keeping. You do need, good packaging and labeling, some knowledge of this MOT exclusion (exclusion from the DOT rules for other materials), and you must meet the quantity limitations assigned to the material you are transporting.

Hazardous materials transported as MOTs must meet the following requirements:

  • You must meet the quantity limitations listed below. If your material is not listed in the BNL MOT table, ask someone on the Photon Sciences ESH Staff for help.
  • Your containers must be sealed, leak tight, and labeled with the common name of the material on the container.
  • Containers must be placed in boxes that are securely closed, secured against movement, and protected against damage.
  • Do not mix chemically incompatible materials within the same box.
  • Have an MSDS for each hazardous material in transport.
  • Read and possess the DOT Brochure, What Are Materials of Trade and What Regulations Apply?

In addition, if a private vehicle must be used, the following requirements must be met:

         The driver must have a valid state driverís license for the vehicle being operated.

         The vehicle must be in good mechanical condition and have a valid state safety inspection

         The vehicle must be insured with at least the required minimum liability insurance

         The driver must obey all state and local traffic rules and regulations.

There is no MOT exclusion for:

  • Radioactive materials.
  • Compressed gasses (except in government vehicles).
  • The Alkali metals; Sodium, Lithium, Potassium, Rubidium, and Cesium.
  • Infectious substances (Etiological agent) (in most cases)
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Explosives
  • Pyrophorics

These materials must not be transported in personal vehicles

There is no MOT exclusion for commercial aircraft.
Hazardous and radioactive materials must not be transported on commercial aircraft.

MOT Quantity Limitations:
Always limit the amount of material that you bring to the NSLS to that quantity needed for your experiment. If you purchase reagents in liter or larger quantities at your home institution, transfer the few milliliters that you need at the beam line to another container, seal and label that container, and bring that to the NSLS. Please do not bring more than you need, it complicates transport, adds to the risks on the experimental floor, and stresses our limited storage capability.

All common reagents must be limited to the lesser of the BNL MOT table or 1000 ml. Glass bottles over 1000 ml are not allowed.  Common reagents are:

  • Solvents: Alcohols, Hexane, Acetone, Toluene, Chloroform, Benzene.
  • Acids, Hydrochloric, Sulfuric, Acetic, Nitric.
  • Alkalines: Sodium or Potassium Hydroxide solutions, Ammonium Hydroxide
  • Other: Hydrogen Peroxide (= 30%).

Hazardous Materials Off site (between BNL and other institutions)

Sending hazardous materials from your home institution to the NSLS:

Your home institutions shipping department should package and send your materials to the NSLS. The beam line Local Contact should be listed as the receiver so that your package can arrive before you and someone will be available to receive it. You must contact the beam line Local Contact and inform him/her that your package is coming so that he/she can make arrangements for pick up and storage of your materials.

Packages should be addressed to:

U.S. Department of Energy
c/o Brookhaven National Laboratory
Building 98, Receiving
Attn: Local Contact Name; Bldg. 725; Beam Line #
Upton, NY 11973-5000

Note: This includes hazardous material that is shipped by overnight shipper, i.e., Federal Express, DHL. Hazardous material is not to be shipped directly to the location of the Department/Division using it.

Note: If purchasing new hazardous materials, they too should be shipped to the address above.

Sending hazardous materials off of the BNL site:

When sending hazardous materials from the NSLS back to your home institution, the following steps should be followed:

1.     Make sure that all your containers are sealed to prevent leakage, and labeled to identify the contents. Get a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for each hazardous chemical you are shipping.

2.     Place your containers in a suitable box. Do not put chemically incompatible materials in the same box. Arrange your containers in the box so that they do not rattle and can be transported by BNL staff to the warehouse area without incident. Close your box.

Follow the instructions located here:

Hazardous Materials On site (between buildings at BNL)

If your materials do not meet the definition of Materials of Trade, contact a member of the Photon Sciences ES&H Staff. 


Users who bring trucks on site must assure that the vehicle is not overweight and that the load is well balanced and secure. It is your responsibility to assure that your truck is properly loaded.

Transport of hazardous materials by truck must conform to the guidelines listed above. If your materials do not meet the MOT requirements, they do not belong on the truck and you must ship them through a commercial carrier.

Bar codes Chemical Management System (CMS)

The BNL Chemical Management System is used to track the quantities and locations of chemicals on site. Any reagents delivered through the BNL Receiving Department will arrive at the NSLS already entered to the CMS and with bar codes on the containers. Any reagents that you bring to the NSLS that will remain in storage here, at this facility, after you depart, must also be bar coded and entered into the CMS. Materials that you bring, that will be on site for a few days, and that will be depleted or leave when you depart, need not be bar coded and entered into the CMS.

If you need to have your containers bar coded and entered to the CMS or if your container has a bar code on it and you empty it, move it between buildings, or remove it from site, you must update the system to keep the inventory current. You can enter new materials, transfer existing materials, or delete a material from the database on the web at this URL:
Chemical Management System (available on the BNL intranet only)

When you go to this page, you need to click on, CMS Web Forms. There you will find instructions on how to proceed. It will take two or three days to receive a new bar code sticker in the BNL interoffice mail. If you need your bar code sticker sooner, contact the CMS group at extension 2028 and they will come over with the sticker right away.

Shipping Memoranda

All packages and trucks leaving BNL must be accompanied by an approved shipping memorandum.  The procedure for completing shipping memoranda is at the following URL: