Nuclear waste management (21 - 30 of 219 items)
Yucca Mountain: Quality Assurance at DOE's Planned Nuclear Waste Repository Needs Increased Management Attention
GAO-06-313: Published: Mar 17, 2006. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 2006.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is working to obtain a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to construct a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The project, which began in the 1980s, has been beset by delays. In a 2004 report, GAO raised concerns that persistent quality assurance problems could further delay the project. Then, in 2005, DOE announced the discovery of...
Securing U.S. Nuclear Materials: Poor Planning Has Complicated DOE's Plutonium Consolidation Efforts
GAO-06-164T: Published: Oct 7, 2005. Publicly Released: Oct 7, 2005.
Plutonium is very hazardous to human health and the environment and requires extensive security because of its potential use in a nuclear weapon. The Department of Energy (DOE) stores about 50 metric tons of plutonium that is no longer needed by the United States for nuclear weapons. Some of this plutonium is in the form of contaminated metal, oxides, solutions, and residues remaining from the nuc...
Nuclear Cleanup: Preliminary Results of the Review of the Department of Energy's Rocky Flats Closure Projects
GAO-05-1044R: Published: Sep 22, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 2005.
For about 40 years, the Department of Energy's Rocky Flats site, near Denver, served as a production facility that made plutonium triggers, or "pits," for nuclear weapons. That role resulted in radiological and chemical contamination of many of the site's buildings and its soil and water. Cleanup of the site, which commenced in 1996, has been a monumental undertaking. The cleanup is being conducte...
Securing U.S. Nuclear Materials: DOE Needs to Take Action to Safely Consolidate Plutonium
GAO-05-665: Published: Jul 20, 2005. Publicly Released: Aug 19, 2005.
Plutonium is very hazardous to human health and the environment and requires extensive security because of its potential use in a nuclear weapon. The Department of Energy (DOE) stores about 50 metric tons of plutonium that is no longer needed by the United States for nuclear weapons. Some of this plutonium is contaminated metal, oxides, solutions, and residues remaining from the nuclear weapons pr...
Nuclear Waste: Better Performance Reporting Needed to Assess DOE's Ability to Achieve the Goals of the Accelerated Cleanup Program
GAO-05-764: Published: Jul 29, 2005. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2005.
In February 2002, following years of rising costs to its nuclear waste cleanup program, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new initiative--the accelerated cleanup plan--and committed to reduce costs of cleanup by $50 billion, shorten the cleanup schedule by 35 years, and reduce risks to human health and the environment. GAO reviewed (1) the progress DOE has made under its accelerated clean...
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: NRC Needs to Do More to Ensure that Power Plants Are Effectively Controlling Spent Nuclear Fuel
GAO-05-339: Published: Apr 8, 2005. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 2005.
Spent nuclear fuel--the used fuel periodically removed from reactors in nuclear power plants--is too inefficient to power a nuclear reaction, but is intensely radioactive and continues to generate heat for thousands of years. Potential health and safety implications make the control of spent nuclear fuel of great importance. The discovery, in 2004, that spent fuel rods were missing at the Vermont...
Nuclear Waste: Absence of Key Management Reforms on Hanford's Cleanup Project Adds to Challenges of Achieving Cost and Schedule Goals
GAO-04-611: Published: Jun 9, 2004. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 2004.
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford Site in Washington State houses DOE's largest and most complex nuclear cleanup project--treating and preparing for disposal 55 million gallons of high-level radioactive waste. In 2000, DOE awarded an 11-year, $4.3 billion contract to design, construct, and test treatment facilities at Hanford. GAO was asked to review (1) efforts to accelerate the project's...
Nuclear Regulation: NRC Needs More Effective Analysis to Ensure Accumulation of Funds to Decommission Nuclear Power Plants
GAO-04-32: Published: Oct 30, 2003. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 2003.
Following the shutdown of a nuclear power plant a significant radioactive waste hazard remains until the waste is removed and the plant site decommissioned. In 1999, GAO reported that the combined value of the owners' decommissioning funds was insufficient to ensure enough funds would be available for decommissioning. GAO was asked to update its 1999 report and to evaluate the Nuclear Regulatory C...
Spent Nuclear Fuel: Options Exist to Further Enhance Security
GAO-03-426: Published: Jul 15, 2003. Publicly Released: Aug 14, 2003.
Spent nuclear fuel, the used fuel periodically removed from nuclear power reactors, is one of the most hazardous materials made by man. Nuclear power companies currently store 50,000 tons of spent fuel at 72 sites in 33 states. That amount will increase through 2010, when the Department of Energy (DOE) expects to open a permanent repository for this fuel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Concerns have be...
Nuclear Waste: Challenges and Savings Opportunities in DOE's High-Level Waste Cleanup Program
GAO-03-930T: Published: Jul 17, 2003. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 2003.
The Department of Energy (DOE) oversees the treatment and disposal of 94 million gallons of highly radioactive nuclear waste from the nation's nuclear weapons program, 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 cleanup. GAO was asked to testify on the status of this initi...