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History of Level VI Inspection Program

In 1986, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management requested that CVSA, under a cooperative agreement, develop an inspection standard for their future shipments of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The goal was to develop a standard to ensure the protection and safety of people and the environment by setting and enforcing rigid inspection standards and safeguards for the transportation of radioactive materials.

CVSA brought together a wide range of officials to develop the Level VI standards. Four committees on research, design, inspection, training and data analysis were established to conduct the major elements of the research and development process. The make-up of the committees consisted of CVSA members from the various U.S. states and Canadian provinces, industry personnel, nuclear industry control officials, government officials, representatives from a research firm and CVSA staff.

The Level VI standards were originally developed for specific OCRWM shipments; however, upon conclusion of a pilot test of the procedures and standards, using shipments of Cesium, LSA-Nitric Acid and spent nuclear reactor research fuel, it was determined that the Level VI standards were appropriate for all shipments of highway route controlled quantities (HRCQ) and transuranics. This determination had the concurrence of DOE and an overwhelming majority of the affected states, regional organizations and the motor carrier radioactive material transporters.

In July 1999, CVSA membership adopted the use of the Level VI (enhanced North American Standard) Inspection procedures and North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria on all shipments of highway route controlled quantities of radioactive materials as defined by Title 49 CFR, Section 173.403, and all transuranics.

As of Jan. 1, 2005, all vehicles and carriers transporting HRCQ of radioactive material are required to pass the North American Standard Level VI Inspection. Previously, the U.S. DOE voluntarily complied with the North American Standard Level VI Inspection Program requirements. Select radiological shipments include HRCQ of radioactive material as defined by Title 49 CFR Section 173.403. And, because only a small fraction of transuranics are HRCQ, DOE decided to include its transuranic waste shipments in the North American Standard Level VI Inspection Program.