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Despite a general consensus that highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel should be stored in underground repositories, finding appropriate sites for such repositories has been so politically fraught that none exist worldwide, panelists at a AAAS-organized Capitol Hill briefing explained.

With about 240,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel in storage at the end of 2009 and approximately 10,500 tons of spent fuel generated annually, the need for a long-term solution for spent fuel storage is growing quickly.