Nuclear waste management (11 - 20 of 219 items)
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...
Low-Level Radioactive Waste: Status of Disposal Availability in the United States and Other Countries
GAO-08-813T: Published: May 20, 2008. Publicly Released: May 20, 2008.
Disposal of radioactive material continues to be highly controversial. To address part of the disposal problem, in 1980, Congress made the states responsible for disposing of most low-level radioactive waste (LLRW), and allowed them to form regional compacts and to restrict access to disposal facilities from noncompact states. LLRW is an inevitable by-product of nuclear power generation and includ...
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...
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management: Approaches Used by Foreign Countries May Provide Useful Lessons for Managing U.S. Radioactive Waste
GAO-07-221: Published: Mar 21, 2007. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2007.
GAO has reported on limitations in the management of U.S. low-level radioactive waste (LLRW). LLRW ranges from very low-activity to higher-activity waste. To identify potential approaches to overcome these limitations, GAO was asked to examine the extent to which other countries have (1) LLRW inventory databases, (2) timely removal of higher-activity LLRW from waste generator sites, (3) dispositio...
Nuclear Waste: DOE's Efforts to Protect the Columbia River from Contamination Could Be Further Strengthened
GAO-06-1018: Published: Aug 28, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2006.
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford site in Washington State is one of the most contaminated nuclear waste sites in North America. The Columbia River flows through about 50 miles of the site. Radioactive and hazardous contamination from decades of producing nuclear materials for the nation's defense have migrated through the soil into the groundwater, which generally flows toward the river. I...
Yucca Mountain: DOE's Planned Nuclear Waste Repository Faces Quality Assurance and Management Challenges
GAO-06-550T: Published: Apr 25, 2006. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 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 2004, GAO raised concerns that persistent quality assurance problems could further delay the project. Then, in 2005, DOE announced discovery of employee e-m...