About 80 percent of the 63,000 metric tons of used fuel in the U.S. is stored in underwater pools near the nuclear plants.

Pool-of-Fuel-RodsThe nuclear crisis in Japan is prompting scrutiny of nuclear power plants in the U.S., leading to a decades-old question: What to do with all the spent nuclear fuel produced here?

The law says the federal government is supposed to take nuclear waste off the hands of plant operators. The Department of Energy had planned to store it underground in Nevada at Yucca Mountain. But President Obama — fulfilling a campaign promise — put a stop to that controversial program, leaving the long-term storage of nuclear waste in limbo.

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Source: Jeff Brady | NPR
Photo: Jiji Press | AFP | Getty Images