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Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Oversight and Status of Implementing a Risk-Informed Approach to Fire Safety
GAO-13-8: Published: Oct 22, 2012. Publicly Released: Nov 26, 2012.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), together with plant operators, has made progress in resolving three fire safety issues raised in GAO's 2008 report by implementing GAO's recommendations or taking other actions. NRC implemented the recommendation on multiple spurious operations (malfunctions caused by fire that could cause safety-related equipment to malfunction) by issuing new guidance or...
Energy-Water Nexus: Coordinated Federal Approach Needed to Better Manage Energy and Water Tradeoffs
GAO-12-880: Published: Sep 13, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 2012.
As GAOs past work has shown, and other studies and specialists have confirmed, there are a number of key energy-water nexus issues that Congress and federal agencies need to consider when developing and implementing national policies for energy and water resources. Specifically:Location greatly influences the extent to which energy and water affect one another. For example, as GAO reported i...
Recovery Act: Most DOE Cleanup Projects Are Complete, but Project Management Guidance Could Be Strengthened
GAO-13-23: Published: Oct 15, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 2012.
From October 2009 through March 2012, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) and working on Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) cleanup projects peaked at about 11,000 FTEs in the quarter ending September 2010, according to data on the federal government's Recovery Act website....
Oil and Gas: Information on Shale Resources, Development, and Environmental and Public Health Risks
GAO-12-732: Published: Sep 5, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 2012.
Estimates of the size of shale oil and gas resources in the United States by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Potential Gas Committee--three organizations that estimate the size of these resources--have increased over the last 5 years, which could mean an increase in the nation's energy portfolio. For example, in 2012, EIA estimated that the amoun...
Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health Requirements
GAO-12-874: Published: Sep 5, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 2012.
As with conventional oil and gas development, requirements from eight federal environmental and public health laws apply to unconventional oil and gas development. For example, the Clean Water Act (CWA) regulates discharges of pollutants into surface waters. Among other things, CWA requires oil and gas well site operators to obtain permits for discharges of produced waterwhich includes fluid...
Batteries and Energy Storage: Federal Initiatives Supported Similar Technologies and Goals but Had Key Differences
GAO-12-842: Published: Aug 30, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 2012.
GAO identified 39 battery and energy storage initiatives with a variety of key characteristics that were implemented across six agencies: the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These in...
Solar Energy: Federal Initiatives Overlap but Take Measures to Avoid Duplication
GAO-12-843: Published: Aug 30, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 2012.
Sixty-five solar-related initiatives with a variety of key characteristics were supported by six federal agencies. Over half of these 65 initiatives supported solar projects exclusively; the remaining initiatives supported solar and other renewable energy technologies. The 65 initiatives exhibited a variety of key characteristics, including multiple technology advancement activities ranging from b...
Spent Nuclear Fuel: Accumulating Quantities at Commercial Reactors Present Storage and Other Challenges
GAO-12-797: Published: Aug 15, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 2012.
The amount of spent fuel stored on-site at commercial nuclear reactors will continue to accumulateincreasing by about 2,000 metric tons per year and likely more than doubling to about 140,000 metric tonsbefore it can be moved off-site, because storage or disposal facilities may take decades to develop. In examining centralized storage or permanent disposal options, GAO found that new f...
Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: Observations on the National Nuclear Security Administration's Oversight of Safety, Security, and Project Management
GAO-12-912T: Published: Sep 12, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 2012.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a separately organized agency within the Department of Energy (DOE), has successfully ensured that the nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe and reliable by using state-of-the-art facilities as well as the skills of top scientists. Nevertheless, DOEs and NNSAs ineffective oversight of its contractors has contributed to many safety a...
Nuclear Nonproliferation: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Security of Radiological Sources at U.S. Medical Facilities
GAO-12-925: Published: Sep 10, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2012.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) requirements do not consistently ensure the security of high-risk radiological sources at the 26 selected hospitals and medical facilities GAO visited. One reason for this is that the requirements are broadly written and do not prescribe specific measures that hospitals and medical facilities must take to secure medical equipment containing sealed sources,...