Nuclear Waste:

DOE Needs to Ensure Nevada's Conformance With Grant Requirements

RCED-90-173: Published: Jul 9, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1990.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Victor S. Rezendes
(202) 512-6082
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) program to provide financial assistance to Nevada under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.

GAO found that: (1) Nevada opposes the DOE Yucca Mountain project; (2) Nevada spent most of the $32 million in nuclear waste act grants properly, but used $1 million of the funds for activities that were not authorized; (3) Nevada employed law firms that performed lobbying activities between July 1986 and June 1989; (4) Nevada used grant funds to pay expenses incurred in suing DOE; (5) Nevada exceeded the congressional limit on the money it could spend on socioeconomic studies for the year ended June 1989; (6) Nevada used over $150,000 in grant funds to pay expenses of the state's nuclear waste legislative committee; (7) Nevada has internal control weaknesses that place funds at risk; (8) DOE and Nevada have not formally agreed to all of the terms of the grant amendments award documents; and (9) DOE did not resolve the disagreements over the lobbying provision before releasing grant funds, and it has not determined the best way to recover grant funds used for unallowable purposes.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has determined the amounts of grant funds spent by Nevada for unallowable purposes and has also determined that the state should repay $75,266 of the unallowable costs. To this end, DOE has billed Nevada. Because Nevada did not pay the bill, on October 7, 1992, DOE offset the grant award by the billed amount.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that grant funds are adequately protected and that recipients of those funds comply with applicable laws, regulations, court decisions, and grant provisions, the Secretary of Energy should determine the amount of grant funds expended for unallowable purposes, seek repayment of unallowable expenditures, and, if timely repayment is not forthcoming, recover those expenditures by withholding the amount due from the state's subsequent grant award.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has instructed officials responsible for grant administration to comply with existing regulations. An accomplishment report has been prepared and approved.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that grant funds are adequately protected and that recipients of those funds comply with applicable laws, regulations, court decisions, and grant provisions, the Secretary of Energy should resolve all audit findings within 6 months, as required by current DOE regulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE now requires grant awards to include specific language detailing any congressional restrictions placed on funding. An accomplishment report has been prepared and approved.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that grant funds are adequately protected and that recipients of those funds comply with applicable laws, regulations, court decisions, and grant provisions, the Secretary of Energy should provide timely guidance to the grantee on the methods to be followed in implementing any congressional restrictions placed on the grantee's use of funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has instructed officials responsible for grant administration to invalidate any signed document that is altered by the grantee, and that no grant funds be released until the grantee acknowledged all award terms. An accomplishment report has been prepared and approved.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that grant funds are adequately protected and that recipients of those funds comply with applicable laws, regulations, court decisions, and grant provisions, the Secretary of Energy should obtain properly executed grant agreements and amendments to the agreements before releasing funds to grantees.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The grantee has implemented procedures addressing the internal control weaknesses GAO reported on. DOE also formally requested the Department of Education, the cognizant federal agency under the Single Audit Act, to ensure that problems with the grantee's internal control system are properly addressed.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that grant funds are adequately protected and that recipients of those funds comply with applicable laws, regulations, court decisions, and grant provisions, the Secretary of Energy should ensure that the grantee's internal controls over grant funds comply with federal standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Dec 16, 2014

Dec 11, 2014

Nov 25, 2014

Nov 14, 2014

Nov 12, 2014

Oct 30, 2014

Oct 20, 2014

Oct 1, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here