Nuclear Waste:

Termination of Activities at Two Sites Proceeding in an Orderly Manner

RCED-89-66: Published: Feb 6, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) efforts to terminate nuclear waste repository program activities at the Basalt Waste Isolation Project in Washington and at the Salt Repository Project in Texas, focusing on: (1) DOE compliance with a legislative directive to cease site-specific activities by March 21, 1988; (2) the extent to which DOE continued such activities for general research purposes; and (3) termination costs.

GAO found that: (1) DOE termination efforts were consistent with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act; (2) DOE terminated site-specific activities within the allowable time period, except for the operation of a seismic network at the Basalt Project that provided information to other DOE programs; (3) it had no basis to conclude that DOE continued site-specific activities as general research; and (4) DOE estimated total termination costs for the two sites at $116 million, or about $25 million less than its original estimate.

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