Nuclear waste management (1 - 10 of 36 items)
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...
Hanford Waste Treatment: DOE Needs to Evaluate Alternatives to Recently Proposed Projects and Address Technical and Management Challenges
GAO-15-354: Published: May 7, 2015. Publicly Released: May 7, 2015.
The Department of Energy's (DOE) two proposed facilities may help achieve Hanford's waste treatment mission by expediting treatment of some waste and addressing some technical challenges within the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant's (WTP) Pretreatment facility. However, DOE selected the facilities based on past proposals and excluded other potential alternatives from consideration. One fac...
Nuclear Waste: DOE Needs to Improve Cost Estimates for Transuranic Waste Projects at Los Alamos
GAO-15-182: Published: Feb 18, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 2015.
The National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) project to remove transuranic (TRU) waste—primarily discarded equipment and soils contaminated with certain radioactive material—at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) did not meet its cost estimates. At the end of fiscal year 2014, NNSA had spent about $931 million on the project, exceeding its 2006 estimate of $729 million by $202 milli...
Department of Energy: Concerns with Major Construction Projects at the Office of Environmental Management and NNSA
GAO-13-484T: Published: Mar 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2013.
In response to GAO reports over the past few years on management weaknesses in major projects (i.e., those costing $750 million or more), the Department of Energy (DOE) has undertaken a number of reforms since March 2009, including those overseen by the Office of Environmental Management (EM) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). For example, DOE has updated program and project...
Nuclear Material: DOE's Depleted Uranium Tails Could Be a Source of Revenue for the Government
GAO-11-752T: Published: Jun 13, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 2011.
Since the 1940s, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been processing natural uranium into enriched uranium, which has a higher concentration of the isotope uranium-235 that can be used in nuclear weapons or reactors. This has resulted in over 700,000 metric tons of leftover depleted uranium, also known as "tails," that have varying residual concentrations of uranium-235. The tails are stored at DOE...
Nuclear Waste Management: Key Attributes, Challenges, and Costs for the Yucca Mountain Repository and Two Potential Alternatives
GAO-10-48: Published: Nov 4, 2009. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 2009.
High-level nuclear waste--one of the nation's most hazardous substances--is accumulating at 80 sites in 35 states. The United States has generated 70,000 metric tons of nuclear waste and is expected to generate 153,000 metric tons by 2055. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to dispose of the waste in a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, ab...
Nuclear Waste: DOE's Environmental Management Initiatives Report Is Incomplete
GAO-09-697R: Published: Jun 2, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 2009.
The Department of Energy (DOE) spends billions of dollars annually to clean up nuclear waste at sites across the nation that produced nuclear weapons from the 1940s through the end of the Cold War. This waste can threaten public health and the environment. For example, contaminants at DOE's Hanford site in Washington have migrated through the soil into the groundwater, which generally flows toward...
Nuclear Waste: DOE Lacks Critical Information Needed to Assess Its Tank Management Strategy at Hanford
GAO-08-793: Published: Jun 30, 2008. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2008.
The Department of Energy (DOE) manages more than 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous waste stored in 149 single-shell and 28 double-shell underground tanks at its Hanford Site in Washington State. Many of these aging tanks have already leaked waste into the soil. Meanwhile, DOE's planned process for emptying the tanks and treating the waste--mixing it with molten glass and solidifying...
Global Nuclear Energy Partnership: DOE Should Reassess Its Approach to Designing and Building Spent Nuclear Fuel Recycling Facilities
GAO-08-483: Published: Apr 22, 2008. Publicly Released: May 22, 2008.
The Department of Energy (DOE) proposes under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) to build facilities to begin recycling the nation's commercial spent nuclear fuel. GNEP's objectives include reducing radioactive waste disposed of in a geologic repository and mitigating the nuclear proliferation risks of existing recycling technologies. DOE originally planned a small engineering-scale demo...
Nuclear Material: Several Potential Options for Dealing with DOE's Depleted Uranium Tails Could Benefit the Government
GAO-08-613T: Published: Apr 3, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 2008.
Since the 1940s, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been processing natural uranium into enriched uranium, which has a higher concentration of the isotope uranium-235 that can be used in nuclear weapons or reactors. This has resulted in over 700,000 metric tons of leftover depleted uranium, also known as "tails," that have varying residual concentrations uranium-235. The tails are stored at DOE's...