Radioactive waste, spent fuel or sources

European and UK regulations govern how you can move radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel into or out of the country.

Separate regulations govern the domestic and international movement of radioactive sources.

The UK has left the EU. The guidance on this page continues to apply until 31 December 2020.

For information on what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021, read:

How to ship radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel

These shipments are regulated by the Transfrontier Shipment (TFS) of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Regulations 2008.

You must follow the regulations. This includes having an authorisation to move the waste. It is illegal to ship radioactive waste or spent fuel without an authorisation. This can last for up to 3 years.

Apply to the Environment Agency for an authorisation using the authorisation of shipment of radioactive waste and spent fuel forms.

You must also submit a written assessment of all practicable options for management of the waste.

Use European guidance on how to complete the forms.

Authorisation assessment and costs

The Environment Agency charges for all work they do in determining permit applications. You pay for the number of hours each individual application takes to process. The Environment Agency invoices you once their work is complete.

The Environment Agency will:

  • verify the capability of the intended receiving country to manage the waste safely
  • seek consent from the authorities of the countries involved – this step may take up to 3 months
  • consult with the Office for Nuclear Regulation if the export or import involves a nuclear licensed site

If you import sealed or other relevant radioactive sources

You may need to make a declaration under EURATOM 1493/93. This may cover one or more shipments and they last up to 3 years.

You can get a declaration form from the Environment Agency International Waste Shipments team, which you complete and return to them. There are no charges for this.

For more help on exporting and importing radioactive waste, spent fuel or moving sources:


Published 13 March 2014
Last updated 28 February 2020 
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