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Nuclear Waste: Benefits and Costs Should Be Better Understood Before DOE Commits to a Separate Repository for Defense Waste
GAO-17-174: Published: Jan 31, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2017.
The information that the Department of Energy (DOE) provided to the President about whether a separate defense waste repository was required did not quantify cited benefits, when possible, show how these benefits could be achieved, or show the risks if certain benefits could not be realized as planned. In the information provided to the President, DOE stated that separate repositories for defense...
Department of Energy: Transactions Involving USEC Inc. Since 1998
GAO-15-730: Published: Sep 10, 2015. Publicly Released: Oct 13, 2015.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has engaged with USEC Inc. (USEC) in 23 transactions since USEC was privatized in 1998 through July 1, 2015. The 23 transactions fall into the following six categories:Establishment of USEC. DOE engaged with USEC in 3 transactions to help establish the company as a private company. For example, from 1998 to 2003, DOE transferred enriched uranium, as required by the U...
America COMPETES Acts: Overall Appropriations Have Increased and Have Mainly Funded Existing Federal Research Entities
GAO-13-612: Published: Jul 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 2013.
In fiscal years 2008-2012, $52.4 billion was appropriated out of the $62.2 billion authorized under the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act of 2007 (COMPETES 2007) and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (COMPETES 2010). Almost all of these funds went to the entire budgets of three existing research entities--the...
Hanford Waste Treatment Plant: DOE Needs to Take Action to Resolve Technical and Management Challenges
GAO-13-38: Published: Dec 19, 2012. Publicly Released: Jan 18, 2013.
The Department of Energy (DOE) faces significant technical challenges in successfully constructing and operating the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) project that is to treat millions of gallons of highly radioactive liquid waste resulting from the production of nuclear weapons. DOE and Bechtel National, Inc. identified hundreds of technical challenges that vary in significance and p...
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: Additional Opportunities Exist to Streamline Support Functions at NNSA and Office of Science Sites
GAO-12-255: Published: Jan 31, 2012. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2012.
Support function costs at NNSA and Science sites for fiscal years 2007 through 2011 are not fully known because DOE changed its data collection approach beginning in 2010 to improve its data and, as a result, does not have complete and comparable cost data for all years. In fiscal years 2007 through 2009, total support costs for NNSA and Science sites grew from $5 billion to about $5.5 billion (no...
Department of Energy: Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Could Improve Its Collection of Information from Applications
GAO-12-407T: Published: Jan 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Jan 24, 2012.
Since first receiving an appropriation in 2009 in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, ARPA-E has awarded $521.7 million to universities, public and private companies, and national laboratories to fund 181 projects that attempt to make transformationalrather than incrementaladvances to a variety of energy technologies, including high-energy batteries and renewable...
America COMPETES Act: It Is Too Early to Evaluate Programs Long-Term Effectiveness, but Agencies Could Improve Reporting of High-Risk, High-Reward Research Priorities
GAO-11-127R: Published: Oct 7, 2010. Publicly Released: Oct 7, 2010.
Scientific and technological innovation and a workforce educated in advanced technology are critical to the long-term economic competitiveness and prosperity of the United States. In recent years, leaders in government, business, and education have reported their concerns that declining federal funding for basic scientific research could diminish the United States' future economic competitiveness...
Nuclear Nonproliferation: DOE Needs to Address Uncertainties with and Strengthen Independent Safety Oversight of Its Plutonium Disposition Program
GAO-10-378: Published: Mar 26, 2010. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2010.
The end of the Cold War left the United States with a surplus of weapons-grade plutonium, which poses proliferation and safety risks. Much of this material is found in a key nuclear weapon component known as a pit. The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to dispose of at least 34 metric tons of plutonium by fabricating it into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for domestic nuclear reactors. To do so, DOE's Nati...
Clean Air Act: Mercury Control Technologies at Coal-Fired Power Plants Have Achieved Substantial Emissions Reductions
GAO-10-47: Published: Oct 8, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 8, 2009.
The 491 U.S. coal-fired power plants are the largest unregulated industrial source of mercury emissions nationwide, annually emitting about 48 tons of mercury--a toxic element that poses health threats, including neurological disorders in children. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that mercury emissions from these sources should be regulated, but the agency has not set...
Federal Contracting: Guidance on Award Fees Has Led to Better Practices but Is Not Consistently Applied
GAO-09-630: Published: May 29, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 2009.
In prior work, GAO found that contractors were paid billions of dollars in award fees regardless of acquisition outcomes. In December 2007, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance aimed at improving the use of award fee contracts. GAO was asked to (1) identify agencies' actions to revise or develop award fee policies and guidance to reflect OMB guidance, (2) assess the consistenc...