Nuclear Health and Safety:

Corrective Actions on Tiger Teams' Findings Progressing Slower Than Planned

RCED-93-66: Published: Mar 25, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) compliance with environment, safety, and health (ES&H) regulations, focusing on: (1) the status of tiger team and follow-on progress assessments; and (2) DOE facilities' responsiveness in correcting identified problems.

GAO found that: (1) as of January 1993, the Secretary of Energy has approved corrective action plans for 30 of the 35 DOE facilities assessed by tiger teams; (2) as of March 31, 1992, 23 DOE facilities had completed 40 percent of the planned corrective actions, but progress was slower than anticipated; (3) the facilities' failure to meet their corrective action plan milestones is due to inadequate resources, overly optimistic schedules, and revised work plans; (4) some DOE facilities lack procedures for verifying corrective actions; (5) DOE has verified and closed about 64 percent of completed corrective actions and returned 126 cases to the contractors for further action; (6) DOE offices did not always independently verify the corrective action that they were responsible for; (7) DOE could not determine the effect of ES&H compliance on contractor award fees, since performance criteria were highly subjective; (8) DOE issued guidance in July 1990 that all performance evaluation plans should include corrective action performance, but field offices are not uniformly implementing the guidance; and (9) DOE has developed databases and workshops to share information on ES&H compliance, but not all facilities use the information effectively.

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