Handling And Packaging of Radiopharmaceuticals


Radiopharmaceuticals are unique medicinal formulations containing radioisotopes which are used in major clinical areas for diagnosis and/or therapy.

,Radioactive material is shipped in one of three types of containers. · Industrial packaging, Type A packaging, Type B.

Types of Radiopharmaceutical Packaging

  1. Industrial packaging ·
  2. Type A packaging ·
  3. Type B

1. Industrial Packaging

Industrial Packaging Materials that present little hazard from radiation exposure, due to their low level of radioactivity, are shipped in industrial packages. These are also known as strong, tight containers. This type of container will retain and protect the contents during normal transportation activities. Slightly contaminated clothing, laboratory samples, and smoke detectors are examples of materials that may be shipped in industrial packages.

2. Type A Packaging

Type A Packages Radioactive materials with higher specific activity levels are shipped in Type A packages. Typically, Type A packages are used to transport radiopharmaceuticals (radioactive materials for medical use) and certain regulatory qualified industrial products.

3. Type B Packaging

Type B Packages Radioactive materials that exceed the limits of Type A package requirements must be shipped in Type B packages. Shippers use this type of package to transport materials that would present a radiation hazard to the public or the environment if there were a major release. For this reason, a Type B package design must not only demonstrate its ability to withstand tests simulating normal shipping conditions, but it must also withstand severe accident conditions without releasing its contents.

Type B packages are used to transport materials with high levels of radioactivity, such as spent fuel from nuclear power plants.

Package Testing for Radiopharmaceuticals

Radioactive materials are packaged according to their form, quantity, and concentration.

Type A Packaging Testing

Type A package designs must withstand four tests simulating normal transport conditions. These include: ·

  • Water spray for one hour to simulate rainfall of two inches per hour ·
  • Free fall dorp test onto a hard flat surface ·
  • Compression of at least five times the weight of the package ·
  • Penetration test by dropping a 13 pound, 1.25 inch diameter bar vertically onto the package from a height of 3.3 feet

Type B Packaging Testing

Type B packaging must withstand Type A packaging testing criteria as well as four additional tests. ·

  • A 30 foot drop onto a flat, unyielding surface so that the package’s weakest point is struck ·
  • A 40 inch free drop onto a 6 inch diameter steel rod at least 8 inches long, striking the package at its most vulnerable spot ·
  • Exposure of the entire package to 1475 degrees F for 30 minutes ·
  • Immersion of the package under 15 feet of water for at least 8 hours

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