Nuclear Waste:

DOE's Method for Assigning Defense Waste Disposal Costs Complies With NWPA

RCED-89-2: Published: Feb 2, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed whether the Department of Energy's (DOE) method of allocating nuclear waste program costs between commercial and defense nuclear waste generators complied with Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) requirements.

GAO found that: (1) the DOE method of allocating repository costs between commercial and defense generators complied with NWPA requirements for full cost recovery and equivalency; (2) the method ensured that DOE would bear the defense waste share of the costs and neither commercial generators nor DOE would subsidize the other over the life of the program; (3) DOE allocated the assigned costs on the basis of cost-sharing factors, and the unassigned costs in proportion to the respective share of the assignable costs; (4) utilities and states agreed with the allocation of assigned costs, but disagreed with the allocation of common unassigned costs, since commingling the wastes would avoid the need for a specific defense waste repository; and (5) DOE believed that the arbitrary allocation of hypothetical costs for a separate defense waste repository, rather than allocating costs on the basis of actual waste program costs, was not appropriate.

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