Status of the Department of Energy's Implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 as of June 30, 1985

RCED-85-156: Published: Jul 31, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reported on the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act during the quarter ended June 30, 1985. The act established the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management within DOE and required DOE to take certain actions pertaining to the management and disposal of radioactive waste.

GAO found that, while DOE has made progress toward meeting the act's requirements, it is failing to meet deadlines the act established. During the quarter: (1) DOE identified three potential sites for the packaging and temporary storage of nuclear waste; (2) the President decided to dispose of defense and commercial waste in the same permanent repositories; (3) DOE continued to assess candidate sites for the first permanent repository; (4) DOE finalized its overall strategy and completed several program documents; (5) seven additional lawsuits were filed, all requesting review of DOE repository siting guidelines; (6) DOE initiated programs to improve communications with affected states and organizations, including Indian tribes; and (7) an independent audit firm commissioned by DOE made recommendations to improve DOE accounting procedures, but found that DOE was complying with applicable laws and regulations. In addition, GAO found that the Nuclear Waste Fund balance was about $1.7 billion at the end of the quarter, of which DOE had invested about $1.4 billion to use for future program activities.

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