Radioactive Materials In Parcels
It is interesting to note that something radio active is sent out on a regular basis to such an extent that there are over 20 million parcel consignments of such products transported every year. These have to be transported quickly and safely, but are far in excess of what the general public would believe happens.
The size of the consignments is of all sizes from the massive radioactive waste consignment in ships to the small parcel trade. Shipping is by road, by ship, by rail and by air and in all the truck shipments consignments there has never been an accident in which there has been a breech or leakage of radio-active material. The rules and regulations for the transport of such materials has been very tight, and they were first put in place by the Atomic Energy Authority in 1961 and they have basically been adopted by all the major players in the game and they have served the industry well.
In the large shipments the whole business is exceptionally well organised and security is paramount, but there are a tremendous amount of deliveries of small containers taking radio active material to a number of users who require small amounts for different functions.
The medical industry is a major user taking many small radio active parcel deliveries to hospitals and treatment centres for a range of medical treatments. The delivery of these small parcels is continuous and has to be in radioactive shielding containers, and by set delivery patterns.
The rules and regulations for the medical industry have had to be changed over the years as the delivery of large quantities of radio active materials need endless permission notes and secure transport using non high risk routes et cetera. Around 500,000 packages of radio active materials are transported by road for industrial, medical and research work, most of this work requires the parcels quickly and on time, in the medical market is it sometimes a desperately short time requirement.
The chances of being harmed by radiation from these products are negligible and far lower than any other accident, which one normally sees. The parcel courier drivers of the transport usually receive less than 1 msv per annum, and the most exposed is the medical attendant who handles the radio active product and his exposure is a few msv per annum. You are far worse off living in Cornwall or the hills of the Peak District where natural radon can be higher. These parcel shipments are specialist but profitable, well established and controlled.