Ucilia Wang, Forbes Magazine

What to do with spent nuclear fuel has been one of the headaches for promoting nuclear power development. The federal government on Tuesday said it will provide $15.8 million to a new project to design a better way to store the used fuel outside of nuclear power plants.

The Department of Energy is funding the 5-year project to look for ways to employ what’s called “dry storage cask technology” to store used nuclear fuel that has been moved off nuclear power plants. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which conducts research and development for its utility members, will head the project.

Today, spent nuclear fuel is typically stored at the nuclear power plants. That’s mainly because a national push create an offsite storage in Nevada‘s Yucca Mountain ran into so much opposition that the federal government canceled the project. The energy department filed a motion to withdraw its licensing application for the project in March 2010.