Monitoring of Radiologically Contaminated Scrap Metal

Monitoring of Radiologically Contaminated Scrap Metal
Ministry (Office /Organization):
Mailing Address:
Debi van Rensburg
Universal Recycling Company
P.O. Box 43587
Industria 2042
South Africa
27 11-473 9600
27 11-474 3072
Regulatory Infrastructure:
Yes No
Does your country/organization have a regulatory mechanism to prevent loss of
discrete radioactive sources and/or radioactive materials?
If so, does this regulation include NORM and TENORM?
Has your country/organization adopted the IAEA Code of Conduct for the Safety and
Security of Radioactive Sources?
Is there active enforcement of the regulations? What agency is responsible for the
Radioactive Sources-Department of Health.
Are there penalties for exceeding the regulatory limits? What are the penalties?
Are there any levels below which material is exempted from regulatory control? If
so, what are these levels?
Are materials from nuclear facilities, with very low levels of radioactivity, released in
accordance with a national regulation?
Is the release conditional or unconditional?
Conditional - Must be licensed with National Nuclear Regulator.
(NORM = Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material)
(TENORM = Technologically-Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material)
Not known.
Are imported and exported shipments monitored for radioactive materials?
Not at borders/Ports.
Is there a regulatory requirement regarding monitoring imported and/or exported
scrap metals for radioactivity? If so, please explain.
Universal Recycling Co. has a portal monitor in the yard and everything
imported/exported is checked on site.
Yes No
At what point in the distribution chain is the scrap metal monitored?
At some scrap yards or consuming industry yards.
What are the specifications of the radiation detectors used?
Our monitor is set at 10 % above ambient background.
Where are the detectors physically located in relation to the scrap metal?
Our monitor is on the weighbridge.
What percentage of imported and exported material is monitored?
100 % of our material.
Explain QA (quality assurance) procedures for the operation of the radiation
Detectors are checked daily.
At least one individual per shift is trained in the alarm procedures.
Are employees trained in monitoring and response techniques? What topics are
covered in the employee training?
Visual inspections of material, procedure to follow in the event of an alarm.
What is the protocol (including organizational structure and coordination) for
response to a radiation alarm?
Weighbridge operator will contact the manager of yard. Depending on the alarm
level, manager will isolate load contact environmental Officer inspects load and
makes a decision, if it can be checked by handheld monitor or notify authorities and
impound the load.
What is the detection alarm threshold setting?
10 % of background.
Monitoring (cont’d)
Yes No
How often is the detection system calibrated?
Self test.
How is it calibrated?
Not calibrated.
Are regular sensitivity checks performed? If so, how?
Built- in alarm response.
Are regular functionality checks performed? If so, how?
Check with radioactive material, that the alarm sounds with similar readings.
Do metal melting facilities (smelters) monitor output?
If so, at what location and how?
Most of the steel foundries have portal monitors, check incoming material, outgoing
material, slag, waste.
Are personnel in metal processing facilities (scrap yards, smelters, etc.) trained in
visual inspection and response?
Are there guidelines for identifying and characterizing sources at metal processing
Is there a reporting protocol at all metal processing facilities for detection of
radioactive materials and associated action?
What is it?
A form is filled out and sent to:
(1) Customer
DOH-(2) Department of Health-Relate to radioactive sources.
NNR-(3) National Nuclear Regulator-Norm radiation.
(4) Register is kept relating to all radioactive incidents.
Register kept by a joint Committee on hazardous material, members
- Metal Recyclers Association
- South African Iron and Steel Institute
- Non-Ferrous Metals Industries Association
- Institute of Foudarymen.
Yes No
How is the detected source dispositioned (removed, eliminated, transported to a
waste repository)?
Contact Nuclear Authorities, await response from them. Isolate material, limit access
and wait.
Is there a free of charge disposal facility or a return to manufacturer program?
Does your Ministry/office/organization support the “Polluter Pays” principle?
Are there protocols (regulations, procedures, instructions, orders) for transporting
detected radioactive materials, both internally and across national borders?
Are there protocols (regulations, procedures, instructions, orders) for transporting
contaminated scrap metal that contain unwanted and unidentified radioactive
If so, what is the protocol?
Transport Hazardous Substances Act.
When scrap metal is purchased, does the contract state it be radioactive-free?
If radioactive material is found in a shipment after it is unloaded, is there recourse for
returning/rejecting the shipment?
If cleared scrap metal is sold, is the origin of the scrap clearly stated to the buyer?
Are steel mills and/or smelters allowed to melt radiologically contaminated metal?
If so, at what level of radiation and how is it monitored?
Not all, only few licensed with NNR - only by up to 10 Bg/gram total activity.
Portal monitors on site as well as portable monitors.
Who is responsible, financially and physically, for disposition of detected radioactive
This is a problem.
If radioactive source - Dept of Health can investigate who source belonged to, by
registration No. and can claim expenses from them. If norm, the finder is responsible
unless prove where he bought it from.
At what point does ownership transfer from the seller to the buyer?
Yes No
Are there reporting requirements for alarms at metal processing facilities? If so,
Report incidents to Nuclear Authorities.
Report Radioactive incidents to HAZCOMRegister to Repertory.
Does your Ministry(office/organization) investigate all reports on detected
radioactive materials/alarms?
Does your agency (Ministry/office/organization) follow-up with the
receiver/originator of rejected shipments containing radiologically contaminated
scrap metal?
Are metal processing facilities allowed to perform their own investigations and
corrective actions on found radioactive materials? If so, what level of training is
required for these site workers?
Don’t know.
Is there a national database on detected radioactive materials? Who is the information
available to?
The industry, HAZCOM Joint Committee have set up there own Register of all
Radioactive incidents are recorded.
Are metal processing facilities allowed to accumulate detected radioactive materials
on-site? If so, what are the restrictions?
We as a company have a small load of radioactive (NORM) on site. We have isolated
the load material and have contacted the authorities. However nobody knows how to
proceed with non-ferrous radioactive material.
Ferrous, below a level of 10 Bg/gram can be sent to a licensed steel mine.
We received a radioactive source and I contacted the Department of Health, they
came on site and removed the source immediately. The source was traced back to a
mine where the source was reported stolen from the mine.
If you have ongoing scrap metal monitoring programs, are there any lessons learned to share
with other countries?
Please describe.
We, as a company have had numerous incidents of receiving radioactive material over the past
10 years. We have portal monitors, educated our W/B operators, reps, buyers, supervisors on
visible inspections of material, first Line of Defence. The more times the material is checked the
Educated/training weighbridge personnel on how the equipment is used, the operating of the
Written alarm procedures are posted for all employees. Signs posted alerting customers of our
alarm procedures. All incidents are reported to NNR, Department of Health and to HAZCOM
Register of Radioactive incidents.
In South Africa the various industries dealing with scrap metal, like the Metals Recyclers
Association, South African Iran and Steel Institute, Non-Ferrous Metals Industries Association
and Institute of Foundrymen have established a Committee to discuss hazardous materials. A
register is kept with all incidents where radioactive material was received at any one of the
yards. A register is also kept of radiation equipment utilized by each company from the various
Please attach any additional information.
Please return the duly filled-in questionnaire
by 15 January 2004 at the latest to:
Transport Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Palais des Nations
Avenue de la Paix 8-14
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22-917 0039