Usefulness of Federally Funded Activities at the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant

RCED-83-128: Published: May 9, 1983. Publicly Released: May 16, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on the usefulness of federally funded activities at the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant in South Carolina, a privately owned, partially completed, commercial fuel reprocessing plant. Since 1978, it has received Federal funding for research and development, facility maintenance, and personnel retention.

Government officials and industry representatives contacted by GAO indicated that the facility's research and development activities have been useful in advancing the technology to safeguard special nuclear material, furthering the understanding of various reprocessing concepts, and developing meaningful data on spent fuel handling techniques. Further, GAO found that Barnwell's facilities have been adequately maintained and a majority of its key personnel have been retained. GAO believes that, although the plant has been adequately maintained, there are technical questions that must be addressed to enhance the future operability of the plant.

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