Nuclear waste disposal (1 - 10 of 28 items)
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options: DOE Needs to Enhance Planning for Technology Assessment and Collaboration with Industry and Other Countries
GAO-12-70: Published: Oct 17, 2011. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2011.
More demand for electricity and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions have increased interest in nuclear power, which does not rely on fossil fuels. However, concerns remain about the radioactive spent fuel that nuclear reactors generate. The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a research and development (R&D) plan to select nuclear fuel cycles and technologies, some of which reprocess spent fuel...
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...
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...
Nuclear Material: DOE Has Several Potential Options for Dealing with Depleted Uranium Tails, Each of Which Could Benefit the Government
GAO-08-606R: Published: Mar 31, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 2, 2008.
Since the 1940s, one mission of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies has been processing uranium as a source of nuclear material for defense and commercial purposes. A key step in this process is the enrichment of natural uranium, which increases its concentration of uranium-235, the isotope of uranium that undergoes fission to release enormous amounts of energy. Before it c...
Uranium Enrichment: Extension of Decontamination and Decommissioning Fund May Be Needed to Cover Projected Cleanup Costs
GAO-08-277T: Published: Nov 15, 2007. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 2007.
Cleaning up the nation's three uranium enrichment plants will cost billions of dollars and could span decades. These plants--located near Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Paducah, Ky.; and Portsmouth, Ohio--are contaminated with radioactive and hazardous materials. In 1992, the Energy Policy Act created the Uranium Enrichment Decontamination and Decommissioning Fund (Fund) to pay for plant cleanup. Fund revenues...
Nuclear Waste: Challenges to Achieving Potential Savings in DOE's High-Level Waste Cleanup Program
GAO-03-593: Published: Jun 17, 2003. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 2003.
The Department of Energy (DOE) oversees one of the largest cleanup programs in history--the treatment and disposal of 94 million gallons of highly radioactive nuclear waste from the nation's nuclear weapons program. This waste is currently at DOE sites in Washington, Idaho, and South Carolina. In 2002, DOE began an initiative to reduce the estimated $105-billion cost and 70-year time frame of this...
Nuclear Waste: Uncertainties About the Yucca Mountain Repository Project
GAO-02-765T: Published: May 23, 2002. Publicly Released: May 23, 2002.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has been investigating Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a possible repository for highly radioactive nuclear waste. In February, the Secretary of Energy endorsed the Yucca Mountain site, and the President recommended that Congress approve the site. If the site is approved, DOE must apply to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for authorization to build a repository. If...
Nuclear Waste: Agreement Among Agencies Responsible for the West Valley Site Is Critically Needed
GAO-01-314: Published: May 11, 2001. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 2001.
The West Valley nuclear facility in western New York State was built in the 1960s to convert spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors into reusable nuclear fuel. New York State, the owner of the site, and the Atomic Energy Commission--the predecessor of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE)--jointly promoted the venture. However, the timing of the venture wa...
Nuclear Regulation: Better Oversight Needed to Ensure Accumulation of Funds to Decommission Nuclear Power Plants
RCED-99-75: Published: May 3, 1999. Publicly Released: May 6, 1999.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the potential cost to decommission nuclear power plants and the implications of competition within the electricity industry, focusing on whether: (1) there is adequate assurance that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) licensees are accumulating sufficient funds for decommissioning; and (2) NRC is adequately addressing the effe...