Comments on the New Nuclear Fuel Cycle Activities Account Included in House Bill 7145

RCED-83-79: Published: Dec 10, 1982. Publicly Released: Dec 10, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the new nuclear cycle activities appropriation account included in proposed bill H.R. 7145.

The bill would create a new appropriation account for current and potential revenue-producing Department of Energy (DOE) civilian nuclear fuel cycle activities, including uranium supply and enrichment, nuclear waste management, reprocessing, and demonstration projects. GAO found that the bill requires DOE to retain the revenues generated by these activities to offset their costs. In addition, H.R. 7145 provides for outlays from the nuclear fuel cycle activities account up to the amounts appropriated for uranium enrichment, the Clinch River Breeder Reactor, and nuclear waste management. The total appropriation for these activities is slightly more than $2.36 billion in fiscal year 1983. GAO interpreted the bill to mean that revenues from any one nuclear fuel cycle activity in excess of the appropriation for that activity could be used to offset costs of other activities in the account for which funds have been appropriated; as such, the bill is inconsistent with both the existing uranium enrichment program authorization legislation and the pending bills on nuclear waste policy, because the enrichment legislation and waste policy bills prohibit the use of revenues from these respective activities for any other purposes. The bill requires that revenues from uranium enrichment and nuclear waste management fees shall be used to offset any other obligations against the nuclear fuel cycle activities account in the future.

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