Spent fuel

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Spent fuel refers to irradiated fuel that is permanently discharged from a reactor.

Unless reprocessed, this fuel must eventually be removed from its temporary storage location at the reactor site and placed in a permanent repository.

Spent fuel is typically measured either in metric tons of heavy metal (i.e., only the heavy metal content of the spent fuel is considered) or in metric tons of initial heavy metal (essentially, the initial mass of the fuel before irradiation). The difference between these two quantities is the weight of the fission products.