Isotope & Europe

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sgt_bear
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Isotope & Europe

Post by sgt_bear » 16 Feb 2018, 05:03

I decided to write this post for people who live in europe and want to order man-made isotope sources (like disk from spectrum techniques). When i wanted to order my first isotopes i thought it would be fairly easy, but luckily i reseached and found some rules that would have cost me alot of trouble if not respected.

So here is sort of a "buying guide".


Basically there are 3 Rules you should consider when ordering isotope sources from anywhere to your country:

Rules 1 - Local Regulations about owning isotopes and radioactive items


This rules define what quantity someone can legally own without a special license. These values differ from country to country and can be very different. For examle here in Switzerland i can own 19uCi of Cs-137, in Germany its only 0.27uCi.

Rule 2 - ADR Transportation

ADR is a Regulation for the Transport of dangerous goods on roadways and is applied by most europe countries. Here it starts to be complicated. Most postal carriers will not transport radioactive or dangerous goods, even when it would be legal. Its mostly because of paperwork and not knowing the contents. So in the bad case, your radioactive box will get stuck at the customs center, and you have to pick it up by yourself or arrange a special transporter to get it to you - this can lead to a very very high cost.

For radioactive Items there is a table of ADR where radioactive is radioactive. For example 0.1uCi Cs-137 is not considered radioactive in ADR, but 0.3uCi would be.
These values can be found at https://adrbook.com/en/2017/ADR/2.2.7.2.2

For Cs-137 the limit is 1x10^4Bq = 0.27uCi
For Co-60 the limit is 1x10^5Bq = 2.7uCi

If you only what to purchase one isotope at a time, just look up the value and check it. But if you want to order more sources in one package you have to calculate the percentage of each isotope in relation to its maximum value

Lets say you want 0.25uCi Cs-137 Disk , the limit is 0.27 therefore 0.25uCi / 0.27uCi = 0.93
for a 1uCi Source of Co-60 it would be 1uCi/2.7uCi = 0.37

If you have these both in one package you have to add the factors: 0.93+0.37 = 1.3 !!
Any value over 1 is not permitted and would end up in a dangerous goods classification (UN2910 in this case)
So you could only order a 0.1uCi Cs137 Source

0.1uCi /0.27 = 0.37 for Cs-137

With 1uCi of Co-60 you would only reach 0.74 which is perfectly fine!


Rule 3 - Disposal

To be honest, this rule is only important if you care...
Most countries permit the ownership of radioactive sources, but you can't simple dispose them. For example in Switzerland and Germany its perfectly legal to own 0.1uCi of Cs-137, but you are only allowed to dispose 0.0027uCi of that isotope. Therefore you would have to wait 157 years before your source can go to trash.



Maybe this post is a help for new people :)
- Jonathan from Switzerland

MaxGaspa
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Re: Isotope & Europe

Post by MaxGaspa » 17 Feb 2018, 09:55

Well, I can't say for the whole Europe but I purchased and imported in Italy 7 disk sources from Spectrum in 3 different shipments and I never had any issue. When I ordered the sources Spectrum managed everything. The activity was chosen to be under exemption, the carrier was aware of the content and it carried the sources at my home. The customs required a lot of information from me and I signed some generic documents about chemical substances. There is a dedicated code for the customs declaration for those kind of sources so I think in Italy shouldn't be difficult to import them.

The sources I got are fully exempted in Italy. The activity of the sources is below the exemption limit and here we can have them and use them without any declaration.

I don't think I was lucky, I simply used the expected procedures and I told the truth to customs.

Max

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sgt_bear
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Re: Isotope & Europe

Post by sgt_bear » 19 Feb 2018, 22:13

Yes it really differs from country to country and the carrier itself. For example UPS has a license here for transporting dangerous items, but our postal service has not.

The problem in my case would have not been customs, they would be fine, but after customs, the postal service would refuse transport if its an ADR Type transport and i would have to arrange a expensive transport service...
- Jonathan from Switzerland

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MartinM
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Re: Isotope & Europe

Post by MartinM » 20 Feb 2018, 09:09

Thanks for the guide.
I too have studied this in the past and I think that most countries in the EU have the same rules.
Activity limits for exempt consignment should be listed in Table 2.2.7.2.2.1 of ADR (European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods).
But beware of some material that can be considered as Dual-Use (e.g. Uranium). This can be covered by different restrictions: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/import-and-ex ... dex_en.htm
Martin Malik, http://www.hwinfo.com

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