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Nuclear Weapons: Actions Needed by NNSA to Clarify Dismantlement Performance Goal
GAO-14-449: Published: Apr 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2014.
How the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) measures progress toward its performance goal of dismantling all weapons retired prior to fiscal year 2009 by the end of fiscal year 2022 is unclear for two reasons. First, NNSA does not track the actual date that dismantled weapons were retired and may be counting some dismantled weapons retired after fiscal year 2009 as equivalent to weapon...
Electricity Markets: Demand-Response Activities Have Increased, but FERC Could Improve Data Collection and Reporting Efforts
GAO-14-73: Published: Mar 27, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2014.
Since 2004, the federal government has made efforts to facilitate demand-response activities, including expanding their use in wholesale electricity markets. Among these efforts, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued regulatory orders affecting Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO)—entities that operate the transmission system and administer wholesale markets in some parts o...
Nuclear Weapons: Technology Development Efforts for the Uranium Processing Facility
GAO-14-295: Published: Apr 18, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 2014.
GAO has identified five additional risks since its November 2010 report ( GAO-11-103 ) associated with using new technologies in the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Uranium Processing Facility (UPF), which is to be built in three interrelated phases. These risks and the steps that NNSA is taking to address them include the following:Technology integration risks . An August 201...
Petroleum Refining: Industry's Outlook Depends on Market Changes and Key Environmental Regulations
GAO-14-249: Published: Mar 14, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2014.
Stakeholders GAO contacted and information reviewed by GAO identified the following three major changes that have recently affected the domestic petroleum refining industry:Increased production. U.S. and Canadian crude oil production have increased, leading to lower costs of crude oil for some refiners. After generally declining for decades, monthly U.S. crude oil production increased over 55 per...
Nuclear Safety: Countries' Regulatory Bodies Have Made Changes in Response to the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
GAO-14-109: Published: Mar 6, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 2014.
All the nuclear regulatory bodies in the 16 selected countries in GAO's review—13 of which currently operate nuclear power reactors and 3 of which are developing or considering developing civilian nuclear power programs—have taken steps to strengthen nuclear safety in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan. Japan in particular has fundamentally restructured its nuclear regulatory...
Nuclear Nonproliferation: Stronger Planning and Evaluation Needed for Radiological Security Zone Pilot Project
GAO-14-209: Published: Mar 6, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 2014.
Two U.S. agencies—the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)—have several ongoing efforts, both in the United States and internationally, to secure radiological sources that could be used to make a terrorist weapon. These efforts include strengthening regulatory requirements, upgrading security, and recovering unwanted or abandoned radiologi...
Climate Change: Energy Infrastructure Risks and Adaptation Efforts
GAO-14-74: Published: Jan 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 2014.
According to assessments by the National Research Council (NRC) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), U.S. energy infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to a range of climate change impacts--particularly infrastructure in areas prone to severe weather and water shortages. Climate changes are projected to affect infrastructure throughout all major stages of the energy supply chai...
Oil and Gas Management: Continued Attention to Interior's Human Capital Challenges Is Needed
GAO-14-394T: Published: Feb 27, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 2014.
The Department of the Interior continues to face challenges hiring and retaining staff with key skills needed to manage and oversee oil and gas operations on federal leases. Interior officials noted two major factors that contribute to challenges in hiring and retaining staff: lower salaries and a slow hiring process. In response to GAO's survey, officials from a majority of the offices in the thr...
Plutonium Disposition Program: DOE Needs to Analyze the Root Causes of Cost Increases and Develop Better Cost Estimates
GAO-14-231: Published: Feb 13, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 2014.
The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) identified various drivers for the close to $3 billion increase in the estimated cost of the Plutonium Disposition program's two construction projects—the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility and the Waste Solidification Building (WSB). These drivers included DOE's approval of the MOX facility's cost and sche...
Oil and Gas: Interior Has Begun to Address Hiring and Retention Challenges but Needs to Do More
GAO-14-205: Published: Jan 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 2014.
The Department of the Interior (Interior) continues to face challenges hiring and retaining staff with key skills needed to manage and oversee oil and gas operations on federal leases. Interior officials noted two major factors that contribute to challenges in hiring and retaining staff: lower salaries and a slow hiring process compared with similar positions in industry. In response to GAO's surv...