NRC Should Specify User Needs and Improve Cost Control for Its Document Control System

EMD-81-90: Published: Jun 3, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 6, 1981.

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GAO was requested to review the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) technical information and document control system. The review focused on determining: (1) the document control system's ability to meet the needs of the NRC staff; (2) the costs of the system; and (3) the adequacy of contracting procedures followed in acquiring the system.

GAO found that the document control system is being used by less than half of its potential users, the NRC staff is experiencing problems in using the system, and its costs have increased substantially beyond those NRC originally estimated. Although only a few contractors submitted a proposal for the procurement, the review shows that NRC followed acceptable contracting procedures in acquiring the system. The review showed that prospective contractors did not question the award of the contract. Potential problems of system users usually can be identified and resolved through a comprehensive requirements study. However, NRC did not conduct such a study to determine the specific needs of the document control system's users. In addition, GAO found that the NRC staff is experiencing serious problems in using the system because: (1) the system's database is incomplete; (2) the quality of document images displayed on video computer terminals is poor; and (3) operating procedures for locating documents are difficult to use. NRC has initiated or planned corrective actions to make the document control system more responsive to its staff's needs and to improve controls over the system's costs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should direct the completion and implementation of planned corrective actions to prevent the processing of duplicate documents.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory (NRC) should direct the completion and implementation of planned corrective actions to resolve problems that NRC staff is experiencing in using the system.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) should direct the completion and implementation of planned corrective actions to specify the needs of NRC staff for an automated technical information and document control system.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

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