Hardened On-Site Nuclear Waste Storage

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) does not support consolidated storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), as it does not solve the problem of SNF and would actually spreads the problem to new areas. Consolidated storage will expose communities across the country to increased radiation as nuclear waste rolls down highways and train tracks. Instead of consolidated storage, ANA supports the Nuclear Regulatory Commission mandating a system of Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS).

HOSS would keep SNF as close as safely possible to its site of generation, thereby exposing fewer people to radiation. A HOSS program utilizing passively cooled dry casks would be a solution to over-crowded spent fuel pools at reactors and provide increased protection from human or natural disasters, like terrorist attacks and earthquakes.

On-Site Storage

Currently, all radioactive waste generated by U.S. reactors is stored at the reactor site – either in fuel pools or waste casks. However, the casks are currently security-vulnerable and should be “hardened” while a better solution continues to be sought.


Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors (Hardened On-Site Storage, HOSS)

Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors
(Hardened On-Site Storage, HOSS)
The following principles are based on the urgent need to protect the public from the threats posed by the current vulnerable storage of commercial irradiated fuel. The United States does not currently have a national policy for the permanent storage of high-level nuclear waste. The Obama administration determined that the Yucca Mountain site, which has been mired in bad science and mismanagement, is not an option for geologic storage of nuclear waste. Unfortunately, reprocessing proponents have used this opportunity to promote reprocessing as the solution for managing our nuclear waste. Contrary to their claims, however, reprocessing is extremely expensive, highly polluting, and a proliferation threat, and will actually complicate the management of irradiated fuel. Nor will reprocessing obviate the need for, or “save space” in, a geologic repository.
 The United States has a unique opportunity to re-evaluate our nuclear waste management plan. We can make wise decisions about safeguarding radioactive waste or go down the risky, costly, and proliferation prone path towards reprocessing.
The undersigned organizations’ support for improving the protection of radioactive waste stored at reactor sites is a matter of security and is in no way an indication that we support nuclear power and the generation of more nuclear waste.
Require a low-density, open-frame layout for fuel pools: Fuel pools were originally designed for temporary storage of a limited number of irradiated fuel assemblies in a low-density, open-frame configuration. As the amount of waste generated has increased beyond the designed capacity, the pools have been reorganized so that the concentration of fuel in the pools is nearly the same as that in operating reactor cores. If water is lost from a densely packed pool as the result of an attack or an accident, cooling by ambient air would likely be insufficient to prevent a fire, resulting in the release of large quantities of radioactivity to the environment. A low-density, open-frame arrangement within fuel pools could allow enough air circulation to keep the fuel from catching fire. In order to achieve and maintain this arrangement within the pools, irradiated fuel must be transferred from the pools to dry storage within five years of being discharged from the reactor.
Establish hardened on-site storage (HOSS): Irradiated fuel must be stored as safely as possible as close to the site of generation as possible. Waste moved from fuel pools must be safeguarded in hardened, on-site storage (HOSS) facilities. Transporting waste to a hardened storage facility away-from-reactor, but as close as safely possible to the site of generation, should not be done unless the reactor site is unsuitable for a HOSS facility and the move increases the safety and security of the waste. HOSS facilities must not be regarded as a permanent waste solution, and thus should not be constructed deep underground. The waste must be retrievable, and real-time radiation and heat monitoring at the HOSS facility must be implemented for early detection of radiation releases and overheating. 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. Design criteria that would correspond to the overall objective must include:
—Resistance to severe attacks, such as a direct hit by high-explosive or deeply penetrating weapons and munitions or a direct hit by a large aircraft loaded with fuel or a small aircraft loaded with fuel and/or explosives, without major releases.
—Placement of individual canisters that makes detection difficult from outside the site boundary.
Protect fuel pools: Irradiated fuel must be kept in pools for several years before it can be stored in a dry facility. The pools must be protected to withstand an attack by air, land, or water from a force at least equal in size and coordination to the 9/11 attacks. The security improvements must be approved by a panel of experts independent of the nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Require periodic review of HOSS facilities and fuel pools: An annual report consisting of the review of each HOSS facility and fuel pool should be prepared with meaningful participation from public stakeholders, regulators, and utility managers at each site.The report must be made publicly available and may include recommendations for actions to be taken.
Dedicate funding to local and state governments to independently monitor the sites: Funding for monitoring the HOSS facilities at each site must be provided to affected local and state governments. The affected public must have the right to fully participate.
Prohibit reprocessing: The reprocessing of irradiated fuel has not solved the nuclear waste problem in any country, and actually exacerbates it by creating numerous additional waste streams that must be managed. In addition to being expensive and polluting, reprocessing also increases nuclear weapons proliferation threats.
Leonor Tomero, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
John Issacs, Council for a Liveable World
Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear
Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action
Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth
 Michele Boyd, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Jim Riccio, Greenpeace
Diane Kreiger, Nuclear Peace Age Foundation
Kevin Martin, Peace Action
Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen
Susan Gordon, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Ken Bossong, SUN Day Campaign
Michael Mariotte, Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Anna Aurilio, Environment America
Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth
Dan Becker, Safe Climate Campaign
Dave Hamilton, Sierra Club
 Geoffrey Fettus, Natural Resources Defense Council
Ed Lyman, Union of Concerned Scientists
 Susan Shaer, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
Garry Morgan, Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, Alabama Chapter of BREDL
 Tom Moss, North Alabama Peace Network
Stacy Fritz, No Nukes North
Stephen M. Brittle, Don’t Waste Arizona
Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, Nuclear Resister
Patricia Birnie, GE Stockholder’s Alliance
Russell Lowes, SafeEnergyAnalyst.org
Barbara Warren, Arizona Physicians for Social Responsibility
Pat Youngdahl, Arkansas WAND
Rochelle Becker, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility
 David Hartsough, PEACEWORKERS
Jane Williams, California Communities Against Toxics
Roland Valentine, Desert Citizens Against Pollution
Mary Beth Brangan, Ecological Options Network (EON)
 Betty Winholz, SAVE THE PARK
Jacqueline Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation
Molly Johnson, Grandmothers for Peace-San Luis Obispo County Chapter
 Linda Seeley, Terra Foundation
Jane Swanson, San Luis Obispo Mothers For Peace Action Committee
Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CARES
Michael Welch, Redwood Alliance
 Enid Schreibman, Center for Safe Energy
Jennifer Olarana Viereck, Healing Ourselves and Mother Earth
Dan Hirsch, Committee to Bridge the Gap
Pamela Meidell, Atomic Mirror
Bob Kinsey, Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War
 Sharyn Cunningham, Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste, Inc.
Judith Mohling, Rocky Mountain Peace andJustice Center
Nancy Burton, Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone
 Judi Friedman, People’s Action for Clean Energy
 Sal Mangiagli, Connecticut Citizens Action Network, Haddam Chapter
Alan Muller, Green Delaware
District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
 Louis Clark, Government Accountability Project
 Bob Krasowski, Florida Alliance for A Clean Environment, The Zero Waste Collier County Group
Tom Ferguson, Foundation for A Global Community
 Bobbie Paul, Georgia WAND
Glenn Carroll, Nuclear Watch South
Bob Darby, Food Not Bombs, Atlanta
Henry Curtis, Life of the Land
Beatrice Brailsford, Snake River Alliance
Chuck Broscious, Environmental Defense Institute
Dave Kraft, Nuclear Energy Information Service
 Carolyn Treadway, No New Nukes
Grant Smith, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana
John Blair, Valley Watch, Inc.
Maureen McCue, PSR Iowa
Dave Pack, Kansas City Peaceworks
 Anne Suellentrop, Kansas City PSR
Mary Davis, Earth Island Institute
Nathalie Walker, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
William S. Linnell, Cheaper, Safer Power
Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Dagmar Fabian, Crabshell Alliance
Johanna Neumann, Maryland PIRG
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
 Lucy Duff, Peace and Justice Coalition-Prince George’s County
Debbie Grinell, C-10 Research and Education Foundation
 Deb Katz, Citizens Awareness Network
Mary Lampert, Pilgrim Watch
 Keith Gunter, Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two
Michael Keegan, Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes
 Georgia Donovan, Izaak Walton League-Dwight Lydell Chapter
Terry Miller, Lone Tree Council
Patricia Gillis, Voices for Earth Justice
Alice Hirt, Don’t Waste Michigan
Nancy Seubert, IHM Justice, Peace, and Sustainability Office
Lynn Howard Ehrle, International Science Oversight Board-Organic Consumers Association
Kay Cumbow, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination
Ronald and Joyce Mason, Swords Into Plowshares Peace Center and Gallery
David Gard, Michigan Environmental Council
Steve Senesi, Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War
Danene Provencher, West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc.
Glady Schmitz, Mankato Area Environmentalists
 George Crocker, North American Water Office
Bruce Drew, Prairie Island Coalition
Louie Miller, Mississippi Sierra Club
Mark Haim, Missourians for Safe Energy
Kat Logan Smith, Missouri Coalition on the Environment
Florence Chessin, Missoula Women for Peace, a branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Buffalo Bruce, Western Nebraska Resources Council
Tim Rinne, Nebraskans for Peace
Judy Treichel, Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force
Jim Haber, Nevada Desert Experience
New Hampshire
Will Hopkins, New Hampshire Peace Action
 New Jersey
 Paula Gotsch, Grandmothers, Mothers and More for Energy Safety
 Norm Cohen, Coalition for Peace and Justice-UNPLUG Salem Campaign
New Mexico
Mervyn Tilden, Sovereign Dine’ Foundation
Janet Greenwald, Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping
Joni Arends, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety
Scott Kovac, Nuclear Watch of New Mexico
Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group
Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center
 New York
Joanne Hameister, Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes
 Anne Rabe, Center for Health, Environment, and Justice
James Rauch, For a Clean Tonawanda Site (FACTS)
Barbara Warren, Citizens Environmental Coalition
  Phillip Musegaas, Riverkeeper
 Tim Judson, Central New York Citizens Awareness Network
Manna Jo Greene, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
Marilyn Elie, IPSEC (Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition)
Susan Shapiro, Public Health and Sustainable Energy (PHASE)
Michel Lee, Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation Policy (CIECP)
 North Carolina
Lewis Patrie, Western North Carolina Physicians for Social Responsibility
E.M.T O’Nan, Protect All Children’s Environment
Avram Friedman, The Canary Coalition
Jim Warren, North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network
Janet Marsh, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
 North Dakota
Kandi L. Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network
Jodie L. White, The Environmental Awareness Committee, Save Our Sacred Earth Campaign
Chris Trepal, Earth Day Coalition
Terry Lodge, Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy
Sharon Cowdrey, Miamisburg Environmental Safety and Health Network
Marilyn McCulloch, The Carrie Dickerson Foundation
Dona Hippert, Oregon Toxics Alliance
Charles K. Johnson, Center for Energy Research
Nina Bell, Northwest Environmental Advocates
Kelly Campbell, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Gerry Pollet, Heart of America Northwest
David Hughes, Citizen Power
Katherine Dodge, Northwest Pennsylvania, Audubon Society
 Gene Stilp, Taxpayers and Ratepayers United
Ernest Fuller, Concerned Citizens for SNEC Safety
Patricia Harner, Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility
Dr. Lewis Cuthbert, Alliance for a Clean Environment
 Rhode Island
Sheila Dormandy, Clean Water Action Rhode Island
South Carolina
Susan Corbett, South Carolina Sierra Club
 Dr. Finian Taylor, Hilton Head for Peace
South Dakota
Deb McIntyre, South Dakota Peace and Justice Center
Charmaine White Face, Defenders of the Black Hills
Donald B. Clark, Network for Economic and Environmental Responsibility, United Church of Christ
Rev. Charles Lord, Caney Fork Headwaters Association
 Rev. Douglas B. Hunt, Interfaith Power & Light
Ralph Hutchinson, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance
Rev. Walter Stark, Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice
Ann Harris, We the People, Inc.
Eliza Brown, SEED Coalition
Mavis Belisle, Just Peace
Gary Stuard, Interfaith Environmental Alliance
Craig Tounet, Austin Physicians for Social Responsibility
Jill Johnston, Southwest Workers Union
Margene Bullcreek, Ohngo Guadedah Devia Awareness
Vanessa Pierce, HEAL Utah
Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.
Clay Turnbull, New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution
Chris Williams, Vermont Citizens Awareness Network
Margaret Harrington Tamulonis, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Scott Sklar, The Stella Group, Inc.
 Elena Day, People’s Alliance for Clean Energy
 Tom Carpenter, Hanford Challenge
West Virginia
 Gary Zuckett, West Virginia Citizens Action Group
Charlie Higley, Citizens Utility Board
Bonnie Urfer and John LaForge, Nukewatch Wisconsin
Al Gedicks, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council
Judy Miner, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice
Mary Woolen, Keep Yellowstone Nuclear Free
End notes:
The phrase “Hardened On-Site Storage” (HOSS) was coined by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of IEER in early 2002. He unveiled the concept at a summit, hosted by Citizens Awareness Network (CAN) of the Northeast, held at Wesleyan U. in Middletown, CT in April 2002.
Dr. Gordon Thompson of Institute for Resource and Security Studies then published a report, commissioned by CAN, in Jan. 2003:

Executive Summary of “Robust Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel: A Neglected Issue of Homeland Security”, Institute for Resource and Security Studies (January 2003) focuses on the vulnerability of irradiated fuel stored at the nation’s nuclear power stations  to terrorism and what we can do about it.

Full report of “Robust Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel: A Neglected Issue of Homeland Security”, Institute for Resource and Security Studies (January 2003) focuses on the vulnerability of irradiated fuel stored at the nation’s nuclear power stations  to terrorism and what we can do about it.

The original “Statement of Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors” was published in Sept., 2006.
 It was then updated in March, 2010. This update incorporated an anti-reprocessing statements.
It was updated again in 2016 (the addition of several New York State groups which wanted to add their endorsement.)


Radioactive waste snake oil salesmen we need to worry about

Updated – Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Deep Isolation, now backed by Bechtel Nuclear, has proposed not on-site storage, but on-site DISPOSAL! DOE has tapped Deep Isolation to look at the feasability of dumping high-level radioactive waste down holes on-site at so-called advanced reactors.
Deep Isolation is also very likely sniffing around for opportunities to carry out on-site DISPOSAL at existing old reactors in this country, and at existing old reactors overseas.

Bipartisan bill to help communities like Wiscasset with stranded nuclear waste introduced in the Senate

Updated – Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Duckworth, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Invest in Communities with Stranded Nuclear Waste

[See this press release as posted at Sen. Duckworth’s website.]


June 26, 2019
Contact: Evan Keller (Duckworth), Evan_Keller@duckworth.senate.gov

Annie Clark (Collins), Annie_Clark@collins.senate.gov


Duckworth, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Invest in Communities with Stranded Nuclear Waste


STRANDED Act would provide compensation for communities burdened with storing stranded nuclear waste


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced the Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act to address the impacts of stranded nuclear waste by providing federal assistance to communities around the country that are burdened with storing this waste. The Senators’ bipartisan legislation would award economic impact grants to local government entities to offset the economic impacts of stranded nuclear waste, establish a task force to identify existing funding that could benefit these communities and create a competitive grant program to help these communities find alternatives to nuclear facilities, generating sites and waste sites. Under their legislation, affected communities would be eligible for $15 per kilogram of spent nuclear fuel stored, which is consistent with the rate for impact assistance established under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.


“Communities like Zion have been forced to house this waste without consent or compensation for decades, despite the significant negative impact to their local economies,” Duckworth said. “Since the federal government has failed to open a permanent repository and it could take years to move the waste after one is agreed upon, the STRANDED Act focuses on helping affected areas around the country that are currently facing hardship. Zion can’t wait any longer.”


“Communities across the nation that continue to store spent nuclear fuel are unfairly burdened with the direct and indirect costs of storage,” Collins said. “The STRANDED Act would help these communities, including the town of Wiscasset, Maine, which is home to the decommissioned Maine Yankee, by establishing a grant program to support economic development and create jobs. While the federal government must also move forward with a permanent solution for nuclear waste as required by law, our legislation will take interim steps to assist these adversely impacted communities.”


Zion, Illinois, a community where a decommissioned nuclear power station has housed more than 1,020 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel on valuable lakefront property since the plant’s closure would be eligible for a payment of $15,291,000 under the STRANDED Act to help offset the economic impact of stranded nuclear waste.


Duckworth first introduced the STRANDED Act with U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (IL-10) in October of 2017 after visiting Zion, Illinois. In November of 2018, Duckworth discussed the importance of the STRANDED Act in her meeting with Rita Baranwal, who was recently confirmed to be the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)Duckworth also highlighted the need for compensation for communities dealing with stranded nuclear waste in May of 2019 during a U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing.

Find out more about the current state of nuclear waste management here.

Read the full Senate Energy and Natural Resources “discussion draft” nuclear waste bill here.

Read ANA’s response to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee here

View DOE’s response to public pressure on nuclear waste here.

Additional Resources
  • Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors describes the technical requirements of HOSS.  Drafted by Public Citizen.
  • This fact sheet, authored by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, deals with a similar nuclear waste management issue.
  • Dr. Gordon Thompson wrote a detailed report, which covers many of the technical aspects of HOSS, applied to storage of spent nuclear fuel. Download Robust Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel.