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Spent Nuclear Fuel: Legislative, Technical, and Societal Challenges to Its Transportation
GAO-16-121T: Published: Oct 1, 2015. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 2015.
Based on its prior work, GAO found three key challenges related to the transportation of spent nuclear fuel: legislative, technical, and societal.Legislative challenges . As GAO reported in November 2009, August 2012, and October 2014, DOE does not have clear legislative authority for either consolidated interim storage or for permanent disposal at a site other than Yucca Mountain. Specifically, p...
Pipeline Safety: Department of Transportation Needs to Complete Regulatory, Data, and Guidance Efforts
GAO-15-843T: Published: Sep 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2015.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has begun but not completed efforts to improve pipeline safety in response to GAO's prior recommendations:Gathering pipelines : In 2012, GAO found that while gathering pipelines that are not regulated by PHMSA were generally considered to present less safety risk than other pipelines, PHMSA did...
Nuclear Nonproliferation: DOE Made Progress to Secure Vulnerable Nuclear Materials Worldwide, but Opportunities Exist to Improve Its Efforts
GAO-15-799: Published: Sep 23, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2015.
The Department of Energy (DOE) achieved goals for two of its four key activities under the President's 2009 initiative to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials within 4 years. Specifically, from April 2009 through December 2013, GAO's analysis of DOE's records found that DOE exceeded its goal for removing or disposing of 1,201 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium by more than...
Technology Assessment: Water in the Energy Sector: Reducing Freshwater Use in Hydraulic Fracturing and Thermoelectric Power Plant Cooling
GAO-15-545: Published: Aug 7, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2015.
Waterless and water-efficient fracturing technologies such as gas-based fracturing or foams have been used to reduce the use of freshwater in hydraulic fracturing operations, although the main benefit is enhanced hydrocarbon recovery. The geologic formation characteristics of shale plays largely determine their use. According to experts GAO consulted, hydraulic fracturing operators are managing th...
Capitol Power Plant: Architect of the Capitol Should Update Its Long-term Energy Plan before Committing to Major Energy Projects
GAO-15-436: Published: Sep 3, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 3, 2015.
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) implemented many measures since 2008 to manage the energy-related costs of the Capitol Complex (the complex) and has opportunities to further manage these costs. AOC updated some of the Capitol Power Plant's (CPP's) production and distribution systems to reduce energy use and increase efficiency. AOC also implemented measures to reduce energy consumption in the c...
Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: NNSA Increased Its Budget Estimates, but Estimates for Key Stockpile and Infrastructure Programs Need Improvement
GAO-15-499: Published: Aug 6, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 6, 2015.
The National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) 25-year budget estimates for modernizing the nuclear security enterprise in its fiscal year 2015 budget materials total $293.4 billion, which is an increase of $17.6 billion (6.4 percent) compared with the prior year's materials. NNSA's budget materials are (1) its 2015 congressional budget justification that includes the President's fiscal yea...
Nuclear Weapons Sustainment: Improvements Made to Budget Estimates, but Opportunities Exist to Further Enhance Transparency
GAO-15-536: Published: Jul 30, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2015.
The annual joint report submitted by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) in May 2014 includes 10-year budget estimates for sustaining and modernizing U.S. nuclear weapons (see figure), and these estimates are generally consistent with internal funding and modernization plans, with a few exceptions. For example, GAO could not fully verify that DOD's command, control,...
Technology Assessment: Nuclear Reactors: Status and Challenges in Development and Deployment of New Commercial Concepts
GAO-15-652: Published: Jul 28, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2015.
In the United States, four light water small modular reactors (SMRs)—nuclear power reactors with a generating capacity of less than 300 MW of electricity—have been developed to the point that the reactor designers have begun discussing design certification and license applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and one SMR designer has established time-frames for applications to...
Defense Energy: Observations on DOD's Investments in Alternative Fuels
GAO-15-674: Published: Jul 27, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 2015.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has purchased small quantities of alternative fuels—jet and naval distillate (known as F-76, to power ships)—for testing and demonstration purposes, but has not done so yet for military operations. DOD's testing process validates the ability of alternative fuels to meet safety, performance, and reliability standards for military equipment and platforms. From fis...
Federal Green Building: Federal Efforts and Third-Party Certification Help Agencies Implement Key Requirements, but Challenges Remain
GAO-15-667: Published: Jul 23, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2015.
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), General Services Administration (GSA), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide guidance, oversight, training, and other support to agencies implementing key federal green building requirements. For example, DOE offers training on measuring and reporting on the implementation of...