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Level VI Inspection Program FAQs

What is a Level VI Inspection?

A Level VI Inspection is a higher and stricter inspection standard than the North American Standard Level I Inspection procedures and North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. It is adopted and intended for use only on select shipments of radioactive material. One example of the stricter standard is that under the Level I Inspection Standard if 20% or more of the brakes on the vehicle or combination are out of adjustment the vehicle is placed North American Standard Out-of-Service . Under a Level VI inspection if any brakes are out of adjustment, the vehicle is placed out of service.

Why was the Level VI Inspection developed?

In 1986, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) requested that CVSA, under a cooperative agreement, develop an inspection standard for 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.

Who developed the Level VI Inspection standards?

Initially CVSA brought together a wide range of officials to develop the Level VI Inspection standards. Four committees – research, design, inspection, training and data analysis – were established to conduct the major elements of the research and development process. The committees consisted of CVSA members from U.S. states and Canadian provinces, industry personnel, nuclear industry control officials, government officials, representatives from a research firm and CVSA staff. Over time and as their initial tasks were completed, these committees evolved into the current RAM Subcommittee of the Hazardous Materials Committee.

Who is affected by the Level VI Inspection standards?

The Level VI standards were originally developed for specific OCRWM shipments. 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 Inspection 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, the 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.

What are the additional requirements of the Level VI Inspection?

Vehicle, drivers and cargo must be “defect free” by the Level VI Inspection standard before they may leave their point of origin. While en route, the Level VI out-of-service criteria is applied, however, not the “defect free” inspection standard.

What distinguishes a vehicle that meets the Level VI standard?

A special nuclear symbol decal, was developed for vehicles that meet the Level VI Inspection criteria. The decal is affixed at the point of origin of the shipment and removed at the point of destination. It is valid for only one trip.

What is the Level VI Inspection Outreach Program?

The Level VI Inspection Outreach Program was developed in conjunction with the inspection standards, procedures and North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. The program consists of brochures, videotapes, a display unit for conference/trade shows, speakers and a quarterly newsletter.

What is the final cooperative agreement report?

In October 1999, a final report on the cooperative agreement, including the results of a pilot study was published. The report provides a summary of the activities conducted since September 1986 under cooperative agreements between CVSA and the U.S. Department of Energy. These activities include the development of the Level VI (enhanced North American Standard) inspection procedures and North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria for inspecting drivers, equipment and cargo involved in the transportation of radioactive materials. The activities also include conducting a pilot study to evaluate the soundness of the procedures, develop training curricula, conduct training, perform inspections, develop an outreach program and generate evaluations to support recommendations. Copies of this report are available via email request or by calling 301-830-6147.