USDOT HazMat Placards

Class 7 Radioactive Materials (pg 1 of 2)
49CFR 173 Subpart I


These pages provide US DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) definitions for class 7 materials. Title 49 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (49CFR) also known as the Federal Motor Carriers Safty Regulations (FMCSR) requires the use hazardous materials placards when shipping hazardous materials cargo and dangerous goods in the United States. Canada, Mexico and many other countries have simular regulations that also require the use of these placards.

Clipart CD of Placards Available

CDs containing high-resolution "clipart" versions of each hazmat placard can be purchased from us for $50 U.S. including shipping (via U.S. Mail). For more information and/or to order the CD, please see our placarding CD ordering page.


Any quantity of packages bearing the RADIOACTIVE YELLOW III label (LSA-III). Some radioactive materials in "exclusive use" with low specific activity radioactive materials will not bear the label, however, the RADIOACTIVE placard is required.


Hazardous Materials Load & Segregation Chart
49CFR 177.848
 7  8 

49CFR 177.848(e)

'*' This indicates that segregation among different Class 1 materials is governed by the compatibility table in 49CFR 177.848(f)

'X' These materials may not be loaded, transported, or stored together in the same transport vehicle or storage facility during the course of transportation.

'O' Indicates that these materials may not be loaded, transported or stored together in the same transport vehicle or storage facility during the course of transportation, unless separated in a manner that, in the event of leakage from packages under conditions normally incident to transportation, commingling of hazardous materials would not occur.

'A' This note means that, notwithstanding the requirements of the letter 'X', ammonium nitrate fertilizer may be loaded or stored with Division 1.1 or Division 1.5 materials.

The absence of any hazard class or division or a blank space in the table indicates that no restrictions apply.

7any qty XX  X O             

49CFR 173.403

A1 means the maximum activity of special form Class 7 (radioactive) material permitted in a Type A package.
A2 means the maximum activity of Class 7 (radioactive) material, other than special form, LSA or SCO, permitted in a Type A package. These values are either listed in 49CFR 173.435 or derived in accordance with the procedure prescribed in 49CFR 173.433.
Class 7 (radioactive) material. See the definition of Radioactive material in this section.
Closed transport vehicle means a transport vehicle or conveyance equipped with a securely attached exterior enclosure that during normal transportation restricts the access of unauthorized persons to the cargo space containing the Class 7 (radioactive) materials. The enclosure may be either temporary or permanent, and in the case of packaged materials may be of the "see-through" type, and must limit access from top, sides, and bottom.
Containment system means the assembly of components of the packaging intended to retain the radioactive contents during transportation.
Conveyance means:
  1. For transport by public highway or rail: any transport vehicle or large freight container;
  2. For transport by water: any vessel, or any hold, compartment, or defined deck area of a vessel including any transport vehicle on board the vessel; and
  3. For transport by aircraft, any aircraft.
Design means the description of a special form Class 7 (radioactive) material, a package, packaging, or LSA-III, that enables those items to be fully identified. The description may include specifications, engineering drawings, reports showing compliance with regulatory requirements, and other relevant documentation.
Exclusive use (also referred to in other regulations as "sole use" or "full load") means sole use by a single consignor of a conveyance for which all initial, intermediate, and final loading and unloading are carried out in accordance with the direction of the consignor or consignee. The consignor and the carrier must ensure that any loading or unloading is performed by personnel having radiological training and resources appropriate for safe handling of the consignment. The consignor must issue specific instructions in writing, for maintenance of exclusive use shipment controls, and include them with the shipping paper information provided to the carrier by the consignor.
Fissile material means plutonium-238, plutonium-239, plutonium-241, uranium-233, uranium-235, or any combination of these radionuclides. The definition does not apply to unirradiated natural uranium and depleted uranium, and natural uranium or depleted uranium that has been irradiated in a thermal reactor. Certain additional exceptions are provided in 49CFR 173.453.
Fissile material, controlled shipment means any shipment that contains one or more packages that have been assigned, in accordance with 49CFR 173.457, nuclear criticality control transport indices greater than 10.
Freight container means a reusable container having a volume of 1.81 cubic meters (64 cubic feet) or more, designed and constructed to permit its being lifted with its contents intact and intended primarily for containment of packages in unit form during transportation. A "small freight container" is one which has either one outer dimension less than 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) or an internal volume of not more than 3.0 cubic meters (106 cubic feet). All other freight containers are designated as "large freight containers."
Highway route controlled quantity means a quantity within a single package which exceeds:
  1. 3,000 times the A1 value of the radionuclides as specified in 49CFR 173.435 for special form Class 7 (radioactive) material;
  2. 3,000 times the A2 value of the radionuclides as specified in 49CFR 173.435 for normal form Class 7 (radioactive) material; or
  3. 1,000 TBq (27,000 Ci), whichever is least.
Limited quantity of Class 7 (radioactive) material means a quantity of Class 7 (radioactive) material not exceeding the materials package limits specified in 49CFR 173.425 and conforming with requirements specified in 49CFR 173.421.
Low Specific Activity (LSA) material means Class 7 (radioactive) material with limited specific activity which satisfies the descriptions and limits set forth below. Shielding materials surrounding the LSA material may not be considered in determining the estimated average specific activity of the package contents. LSA material must be in one of three groups:
  1. LSA-I.
    1. Ores containing only naturally occurring radionuclides (e.g., uranium, thorium) and uranium or thorium concentrates of such ores; or
    2. Solid unirradiated natural uranium or depleted uranium or natural thorium or their solid or liquid compounds or mixtures; or
    3. Class 7 (radioactive) material, other than fissile material, for which the A2 value is unlimited; or
    4. Mill tailings, contaminated earth, concrete, rubble, other debris, and activated material in which the Class 7 (radioactive) material is essentially uniformly distributed and the average specific activity does not exceed 10-6A2/g.
  2. LSA-II.
    1. Water with tritium concentration up to 0.8 TBq/liter (20.0 Ci/liter); or
    2. Material in which the Class 7 (radioactive) material is distributed throughout and the average specific activity does not exceed 10-4A2/g for solids and gases, and 10-5A2/g for liquids.
  3. LSA-III. Solids (e.g., consolidated wastes, activated materials) that meet the requirements of 49CFR 173.468 and which:
    1. The Class 7 (radioactive) material is distributed throughout a solid or a collection of solid objects, or is essentially uniformly distributed in a solid compact binding agent (such as concrete, bitumen, ceramic, etc.); and
    2. The Class 7 (radioactive) material is relatively insoluble, or it is intrinsically contained in a relatively insoluble material, so that, even under loss of packaging, the loss of Class 7 (radioactive) material per package by leaching when placed in water for seven days would not exceed 0.1 A2; and
    3. The average specific activity of the solid does not exceed 2 x 10-3A2/g.



Last updated: Feb 2007

Related Resources

  • Guide for Handling Household Chemicals
    Things you can do to make your home safer.
  • USDOT Hazardous Materials Table 49 CFR 172.101
    An online version of the USDOT hazardous materials table from 49CFR 172.101. This table can be sorted by proper shipping name, UN/NA ID and/or by primary hazard class/division.
  • ERG (Emergency Response Guidebook)
    Have you ever wondered what those four digit numbers on the placards on the side of trucks and rail cars mean? Our online 2004ERG will give you your answer. This is an online version of the guidebook produced by the USDOT for first responders during the initial phase of a Dangerous goods/HazMat incident.
  • Chemical Database
    This database focuses on the most common chemical compounds used in the home and industry.

Copyright Notice

While excerpts from the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 (49CFR) and the "Emergency Response Guidebook" are in the public domain, the image files on these pages, the design of these pages as well as all other materials on this site and graphics files are copyrighted by J.K. Barbalace, inc. Copyrighted material on this site, including graphics files, MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED in any form without the express permission.


WARNING: These pages are for general reference and educational purposes only and MUST NOT be relied upon as a sole source to determine regulatory compliance or where matters of life and health are concerned. This site and the author do not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or the sufficiency of the information provided and do not assume any responsibility for its use.

To ensure regulatory compliance when transporting hazardous materials or dangerous goods, one must receive proper training and certification from a qualified instructor and refer to the current year's Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 (49CFR) or your country's shipping regulations. In matters regarding workplace safety, refer to current OSHA regulations (29CFR) and NIOSH guidelines or your own country's health and safety regulations. No one should ever enter into a hazardous environment without proper training from qualified instructors.

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