Nuclear Waste:

Quarterly Report on DOE's Nuclear Waste Program as of June 30, 1989

RCED-90-59: Published: Dec 12, 1989. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided its quarterly status report on the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, focusing on: (1) changes in waste program contracting patterns since enactment of 1987 amendments; (2) the status of a legal challenge to the selection of the waste program's management and operating (M&O) contractor; and (3) concerns about DOE management of M&O contracts.

GAO found that: (1) the number of active waste program contracts decreased from 203 to 80; (2) the cumulative costs for all nuclear waste program contracts totalled about $1.9 billion, of which $654 million was for Yucca Mountain Project contracts; (3) Yucca Mountain contract costs increased 67 percent, while other nuclear waste contract costs increased only 28 percent; (4) an unsuccessful bidder filed a preaward protest against the DOE M&O contract and the court granted a permanent injunction that restrained DOE from awarding a contract to any bidder other than the protester because DOE violated conflict-of-interest statutes; (5) DOE issued a report on its policy to indemnify its M&O contractors except for unallowable costs, losses resulting from willful misconduct, and fines on activities outside the scope of work; (6) one DOE contractor provided the most comprehensive indemnification of any M&O contractor, but its contract did not require that allowable costs be reasonable; and (7) DOE instituted a new procedure that required approval for all projects exceeding $25 million to ensure compliance with new accountability and oversight guidelines.

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