Radioactive substances are divided into two basic groups according to their uses:
cargo from nuclear fuel cycle enterprises, including spent nuclear fuel, fresh (nonirradiated) nuclear fuel, and nuclear materials; shipments of these types of cargoes are under the complete control of Minatom
cargo for general industrial use (so-called “isotopic” products)
Depending on the properties of the materials being transported (predominantly their degree of radioactivity), the different types of shipments may be divided into five categories characterized by various safety requirements. The bulk of the shipments related to the nuclear fuel cycle are carried out by Minatom enterprises using their own specialized means of transport (trucks and rail cars).
Ensuring the safety of shipments is the dominant activity of the Minatom organizations and enterprises involved in transporting radioactive materials. Inherent in the concept of the safety of radioactive material shipments is the condition of all design, operational, technical, organizational, and other elements that play a role in the shipment process, with these elements furthermore understood not to entail any impermissible risk of harm to the lives or health of citizens, the property of individuals, legal entities, municipalities, or the state, the environment, or the lives or health of animals or plants.
The goals of ensuring safety in the transport of radioactive materials are as follows:
preventing emergencies or unauthorized actions
improving the system for response to emergencies and unauthorized actions
predicting potential emergencies
reducing the risk of emergencies and unauthorized actions
reducing the effects of radiation on the population and the environment
reducing the level of irradiation received by operating personnel, law enforcement officers, and rescue workers during emergency response, rescue, and transport operations
detecting and suppressing unauthorized actions with regard to radioactive materials
reducing the severity of the consequences of emergencies and unauthorized actions
reducing the time required to carry out emergency response, rescue, and transport operations and to detect and suppress unauthorized actions
improving the efficiency of personnel and equipment involved in responding to emergencies and unauthorized actions