Status of the Department of Energy's Implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 as of March 31, 1985

RCED-85-116: Published: Apr 30, 1985. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO issued its quarterly report on the status of the Nuclear Waste Fund and the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The act required DOE to develop and construct permanent repositories to dispose of nuclear waste and established the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) within DOE to administer the waste disposal program.

GAO found that: (1) DOE has not completed a mission plan for the waste disposal program, as required by the act; (2) while DOE has issued siting guidelines for the repositories, it has not completed required environmental assessments of the proposed sites; (3) DOE issued draft environmental assessments for proposed sites in Nevada, Texas, and Washington; and (4) as of March 1985, four lawsuits were pending in connection with OCRWM repository siting activities, but two cases may be consolidated and another may be dismissed. GAO also found that OCRWM made little progress during the quarter on: (1) an accountant's review of OCRWM financial statements; (2) a new program management system manual; or (3) the implementation of a new automated information system. In addition, GAO found that: (1) about $85 million was paid into the Fund during the quarter; (2) OCRWM expects that between $770 million and $1.3 billion in one-time fees will be paid into the Fund by the end of June 1985; (3) DOE began to invest excess nuclear waste funds during the quarter and earned about $145,000 in investment income; (4) OCRWM incurred about $74 million in program costs during the quarter, mostly for repository development activities; (5) as of the end of March 1985, OCRWM had unpaid obligations totalling about $204 million and a cash balance of about $260 million; and (6) OCRWM will repay the Treasury $258.4 million plus interest for appropriations it received when the act became law.

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