Nuclear Materials:

Information on DOE's Replacement Tritium Facility

RCED-90-54: Published: Nov 22, 1989. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1989.

Additional Materials:


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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) plans to complete and operate its replacement tritium facility, focusing on: (1) how the facility would correct the present facility's shortcomings; and (2) why estimated costs for construction and start-up have greatly increased since the project began in 1986.

GAO found that: (1) the new facility will increase work-load capacity, provide greater resistance to natural hazards and sabotage, and greatly reduce tritium releases; (2) construction costs increased by 20 percent, from $120 million to $144 million, and start-up costs increased by 350 percent, from $17 million to $62 million; (3) DOE attributed the construction cost increases to greater DOE quality assurance, fire protection, and security requirements, underestimated design and construction costs, and increases in the cost of such materials as stainless steel; and (4) DOE attributed the increased start-up costs to more stringent safety standards and corrections of errors it made in earlier estimates due to inexperience in making estimates for such a unique facility.

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