Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) is a community-based concept that aims to protect the public from the threats posed by the current vulnerable storage of commercial irradiated fuel.
For decades, high level radioactive waste has accumulated at reactor sites and continues to do so as nuclear reactors generate more waste. Without a credible plan to permanently isolate it, storage pools, where irradiated nuclear waste is currently stored until it becomes less hot, have been tightly packed and re-racked to accommodate all the waste.
Unfortunately, the pools and dry casks have no robust containment. If the cooling pumps stopped operating or the water in the pools drained out, temperatures would quickly increase, as happened in Fukushima Japan, and could result in a similar disaster.
Current dry cask storage at reactor sites (pictured above) is extremely vulnerable. There is often nothing more than a chain-link fence and a short distance that seperates the highly radioactive waste containers and public access.
Establishing interim hardened on-site storage (HOSS) is a top priority. Hardened on-site storage allows waste generators to store high level waste as close to the site of generation as possible, thereby exposing fewer people to radiation, as safely as possible.
Rather than storing dozens of vulnerable dry-casks next to each other in the open air, the HOSS Principles established by concerned citizens mandate:
Irradiated fuel must be stored as safely as possible as close to the site of generation as possible;
HOSS facilities must not be regarded as a permanent waste solution, and thus should not be constructed underground and the waste must be retrievable;
The facility must have real-time radiation and heat monitoring for early detection of problems with containers;
The overall objective of HOSS should be that the amount of releases projected in even severe attacks should be low enough that the storage system would be unattractive as a terrorist target;
Placement of individual canisters that makes detection difficult from outside the site boundary.
Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) is supported by organizations in all 50 states. The Principles of Securing Nuclear Waste at Nuclear Reactor Sites are posted here. It would provide better security at reactor sites with robust dry storage and community oversight, including real-time monitoring of heat and radiation. HOSS is rooted in values of community protection and environmental justice and will provide increased protection from human or natural disasters, like terrorist attacks and earthquakes
HOSS facilities are not permanent waste solutions, and therefore should not be constructed deep underground as the waste must be retrievable. However, they are a workable solution that will allow us to explore scientifically sound, and socially and environmentally just long-term management systems.