Department of Energy:

Observations on Externally Regulating Nuclear and Worker Safety in DOE's Science Laboratories

GAO-02-974T: Published: Jul 25, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 2002.

Additional Materials:


Gary L. Jones
(202) 512-3464


Office of Public Affairs
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This testimony discusses the Department of Energy's (DOE) plan for external regulation of nuclear and worker safety at its facilities. DOE's position remains essentially unchanged since the 1999 congressional hearing, when the department decided not to move forward on external regulation until cost uncertainties and implementation issues were resolved. Past regulatory simulations and ongoing work by DOE and its potential regulators indicate that the external regulation of the science laboratories would not require prohibitively expensive facility upgrades to be licensable. Further, much of the expected "costs" would likely involve bringing facilities into compliance with DOE's own safety standards. DOE's response to the conference report directive is not a detailed implementation plan. Rather, it is a restatement of its previously stated call for further cost and benefit analyses before making a final decision on accepting external regulation.

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