In the 41st session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts for the Transport of Dangerous Goods a new special provision (SP376) was adopted. This new special provision is included in the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods: Model Regulations (18th Revised Edition), released mid-2013. SP376 applies to lithium metal cells or batteries (UN3090-UN3091) and lithium ion cells or batteries (UN3480-UN3481) which are defective or damaged and therefore unable to conform to SP230, which states the obligation to meet the requirements of the tests listed in the Manual of Tests and Criteria.
Specifically SP376 includes cell and batteries which:
It does not include cells or batteries which are liable to:
When transported under SP376 the packages must be marked as “Damaged/Defective Lithium Metal Batteries” for (UN3090-UN3091) or “Damaged/Defective Lithium Ion Batteries” for (UN3480-UN3481). In addition they must conform to the related Packaging Instructions, P908 and LP904, and not Packaging Instruction P903, which is used for batteries which are not defective or damaged.
Prior to the adoption of SP376 damaged or defective lithium batteries could only be transported by some of the modes of transport and then were only permitted under additional conditions listed as special provisions or those defined by the competent authority. One reason for SP376 was to allow the transport of damaged or defective lithium batteries to a laboratory for testing to determine the cause of the fault, the need for which was amply demonstrated in the recent events involving aircraft lithium ion batteries malfunctioning.
As the current edition of ADR is based on the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods: Model Regulations (17th Revised Edition) SP376 is not included. In order to allow the application of the special provision a multilateral agreement (M259) has been signed. This is due to expire on 31st
December 2014, with the next edition of ADR, which includes SP376, being applicable from 1st January 2015. The full text of the multilateral agreement can be located on the UNECE website.