The Funding of Generic Activities Within DOE's Office of Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

RCED-84-186: Published: Aug 31, 1984. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed questions concerning the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy's funding certain generic activities not previously identified in the DOE budget request. Specifically, GAO determined: (1) whether this practice is in accordance with DOE internal budgeting regulations; (2) the impact this practice has on DOE accounting records; and (3) the extent to which these activities should be disclosed in the budget.

GAO found that DOE internal regulations and congressional guidance do not specifically prohibit the funding of generic activities. Nevertheless, the practice of funding such activities from various nuclear program budgets does detract from the accuracy of DOE accounting records and could misrepresent the actual obligations and cost that DOE is incurring for a specific amount. The practice can overstate the cost of carrying out individual projects within the nuclear programs, while understating the cost of managing the various nuclear programs. GAO concluded that the magnitude of the practice, as well as the consistency in the projects funded over the past 3 fiscal years, suggests that the practice should be disclosed on DOE budget submission.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy should take the necessary actions to ensure that obligations and costs are more accurately recorded in DOE accounting systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy should disclose the magnitude and scope of funding for generic activities in the budget submission for nuclear energy programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

 

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