There are two acceptable storage methods for spent fuel: Spent Fuel Pools – Most spent fuel is safely stored in specially designed pools at individual reactor sites around the company and Dry Cask Storage – If pool capacity is reached, licensees may move toward use of above-ground dry storage casks.
As bpadhiar mentioned above, there are two methods presently used for spent fuel from commercial nuclear power reactors, both of which take place on-site at power stations and other sources of spent fuel. While the United States does not presently reprocess a significant quantity of spent nuclear material, some other countries with major nuclear power industries such as France use various means of reprocessing, and some research has been conducted in the U.S. on the viability of a reprocessing program (see citation #1), though no program is currently underway.
The long term plan for U.S. nuclear waste storage involves containing the waste in a geologic repository; the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada was initially proposed as a long-term storage site for nuclear waste, although the proposal has been officially withdrawn by the U.S. Department of Energy as of May 2010 (see citation #2). Many residents of the area surrounding Yucca Mountain and other activists have objected to the siting of a nuclear waste facility for a variety of reasons, ranging from the risks of transporting waste from present on-site storage to the risks of volcanic eruptions over the millions of years the waste would need to be monitored and stored safely to prevent contamination of the surrounding area.
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