Natural resources (71 - 80 of 304 items)
Electricity: Significant Changes Are Expected in Coal-Fueled Generation, but Coal is Likely to Remain a Key Fuel Source
GAO-13-72: Published: Oct 29, 2012. Publicly Released: Nov 28, 2012.
Retirements of older units, retrofits of existing units with pollution controls, and the construction of some new coal-fueled units are expected to significantly change the coal-fueled electricity generating fleet, making it capable of emitting lower levels of pollutants than the current fleet but reducing its future electricity generating capacity. Two broad trends are affecting power companies'...
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...
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...
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...
Home Energy Assistance for Low-Income Occupants of Manufactured Homes
GAO-12-848R: Published: Aug 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 2012.
In 2005, the most recent year for which complete data were available, occupants of older manufactured homes paid over twice as much on average per square foot for energy---$1.75 per square foot as compared with $0.87---as was paid by occupants of detached homes. Annual energy expenditures for older manufactured homes--about 906 square feet on average--were about $1,369, compared with detached home...
Managing Critical Isotopes: DOE's Isotope Program Needs Better Planning for Setting Prices and Managing Production Risks
GAO-12-591: Published: May 23, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 2012.
The Department of Energys (DOE) Isotope Development and Production for Research and Applications program (Isotope Program) provides over 300 different isotopes for commercial and research applications. The Isotope Program is responsible for 243 stable isotopes that are no longer produced in the United States but are sold from the programs existing inventory and for 55 radioactive isoto...
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Natural Hazard Assessments Could Be More Risk-Informed
GAO-12-465: Published: Apr 26, 2012. Publicly Released: May 29, 2012.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and companies licensed to operate nuclear power reactors (or licensees) apply probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) to natural hazards at operating U.S. nuclear reactors to a limited extent. When the 104 operating reactors were originally licensed before 1997, NRC required licensees to assess natural hazards using deterministic analysis, which—informed by hi...