Nuclear Waste:

Quarterly Report on DOE's Nuclear Waste Program as of September 30, 1986

RCED-87-48FS: Published: Nov 5, 1986. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided its quarterly status report on the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which established: (1) a comprehensive national program to construct geologic repositories for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive nuclear waste; (2) the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) within DOE to carry out the act's provisions; and (3) the Nuclear Waste Fund to finance the program.

GAO found that: (1) on May 28, 1986, the President approved potential first-repository sites in Nevada, Texas, and Washington for site characterization studies intended to provide the basis for deciding on the preferred site for the nation's first nuclear waste repository; (2) OCRWM has placed primary emphasis on preparing site characterization plans, which it must complete for each site before the exploratory shafts are constructed; (3) Congress passed a continuing resolution in October 1986 that provided no funding for drilling exploratory shafts at any site in fiscal year 1987; (4) on May 28, 1986, DOE announced an indefinite postponement of any site-specific work on a second repository and initiated planning for a broad-based technology development program; (5) the pending court cases regarding nuclear waste remained unresolved, and nine new actions were initiated against DOE; (6) the Nuclear Waste Fund collected over $84.6 million in fees and investment income and obligated about $144 million for program activities; and (7) the fund balance as of September 30, 1986, was about $1.4 billion.

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