Nuclear Health and Safety:

Long-Term Plans to Address Problems of the Weapons Complex Are Evolving

RCED-90-219: Published: Sep 28, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) cost estimates for modernizing and cleaning up its nuclear weapons complex.

GAO found that: (1) over the next 20 to 30 years, it could cost from $125 billion to about $155 billion to modernize and address the complex's environmental problems; (2) DOE developed a 5-year plan for environmental restoration and waste management to modernize and clean up the nuclear weapons complex; (3) the 1990 updated plan showed substantially higher estimates for environmental restoration and waste management activities; and (4) DOE could not project long-term costs of the clean-up because uncertainties existed about the nature and extent of contamination and the effectiveness of research and development in improving cleanup technologies.

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