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NNSA donates container to IAEA for shipping radioactive sources

VIENNA – Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, the Administrator of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) presented the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with a container for transporting highly radioactive materials Sept. 17 during the Annual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna.

The donation of the container – a 435-B – will enhance the IAEA’s ability to help its Member States manage disused radioactive sources. Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General of the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Energy, accepted it on behalf of the Agency.

“This donation further strengthens the cooperation between the United States and the IAEA, and I hope it is taken as a symbol of our long-term commitment to the Agency’s efforts to advance the proper end-of-life management of radioactive sources,” said Gordon-Hagerty, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator. “These efforts will not only strengthen global security but will also promote public health and safety.”

NNSA regularly collaborates with the IAEA on securing radioactive sources including the removal of excess, unwanted, abandoned, or orphaned radioactive sealed sources that pose a potential risk to health, safety, and national security. The container was not readily available to the IAEA so NNSA made the container donation as part of its teamwork with the Agency.

The 435-B container is a smaller, lighter design than others built for this purpose, making it easier to move around less-developed member states. It also allows for the transport of devices that currently cannot be transported internationally due to their lack of compliance with the latest version of IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material.

The container, valued at $1.5 million, will be stored in Austria. NNSA also provided training and tools necessary to operate the container, and will provide for future maintenance and potential repairs. It was provided as part of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Off-Site Recovery Program.

The 435-B container was designed and tested by NNSA and certified through the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation for IAEA Category I and II radioactive material.

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