Major Management Challenges and Program Risks:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

OCG-99-19: Published: Jan 1, 1999. Publicly Released: Jan 1, 1999.

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Victor S. Rezendes
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As part of its Performance and Accountability Series, GAO provided information on the major management challenges and program risks facing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

GAO noted that: (1) NRC lacks assurance that its current regulatory approach ensures safety; (2) NRC assumes that plants are safe if they operate as designed and follow NRC's regulations; (3) however, NRC's regulations and other guidance do not define, for either a licensee or the public, the conditions necessary for a plant's safety; (4) NRC's oversight has been inadequate and slow; (5) although NRC's indicators show that conditions throughout the nuclear energy industry have generally improved, they also show that several nuclear plants are chronically poor performers; (6) NRC's culture and organizational structure have made the process of addressing concerns with the agency's regulatory approach slow and ineffective; (7) even before competition became an issue, NRC and the nuclear utility industry embarked on initiatives to address long-standing regulatory issues, including the management challenges described in this report, in a way that would ensure that NRC carried out its regulatory mission more effectively and efficiently; (8) in GAO's review of NRC's first annual performance plan, covering program activities set out in the agency's fiscal year 1999 budget, it noted that the plan could provide a clearer picture of intended performance across NRC and better discuss the strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its performance goals; and (9) although the plan lists specific strategies NRC will use against licensees that fail to meet regulatory standards, including halting operations if performance falls below an acceptable level, NRC has not developed specific criteria for what is "acceptable."

Below are the reports in this series:

High-Risk Series: An Update HR-99-1, Jan 1, 1999

Performance and Accountability Series:

Major Management Challenges and Risks: An Executive Summary OCG-99-ES, Feb 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: A Governmentwide Perspective OCG-99-1, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Agriculture OCG-99-2, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Commerce OCG-99-3, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Defense OCG-99-4, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Education OCG-99-5, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Energy OCG-99-6, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Health and Human Services OCG-99-7, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Housing and Urban Development OCG-99-8, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of the Interior OCG-99-9, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Justice OCG-99-10, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Labor OCG-99-11, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of State OCG-99-12, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Transportation OCG-99-13, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of the Treasury OCG-99-14, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Veterans Affairs OCG-99-15, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Agency for International Development OCG-99-16, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Environmental Protection Agency OCG-99-17, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: National Aeronautics and Space Administration OCG-99-18, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Nuclear Regulatory Commission OCG-99-19, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Social Security Administration OCG-99-20, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: U.S. Postal Service OCG-99-21, Jan 1, 1999

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