Nuclear Waste:

DOE's Management and Organization of the Nevada Repository Project

RCED-95-27: Published: Dec 23, 1994. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) management of its nuclear waste repository project, focusing on: (1) whether DOE is effectively using its management contractor to manage the project; (2) DOE efforts to consolidate participants' activities, streamline decisionmaking, and reduce project costs; and (3) the recent DOE initiative to reorganize project management.

GAO found that: (1) DOE has not used the management contractor to manage the repository project and has retained its authority to direct each participant's work, including that of the management contractor; (2) DOE has not consolidated project work as originally planned and has missed opportunities to streamline the decisionmaking process and reduce project costs; (3) project participants have used one-third of project funds for management, coordination, and related support activities because of the complex distribution of project work and the duplication of contractor responsibilities; (4) an evaluation team recommended that DOE replace its cost-reimbursable management and operating contracts with a combination of competitively awarded fixed-price contracts and performance-based management contracts; (5) after reviewing the management contractor's performance, DOE decided to continue its contract for the full contract term; (6) DOE plans to hold discussions with project participants about assigning the management contractor a larger management role; and (7) this initiative will not achieve DOE contract reform objectives or consolidate project activities under fewer contractors.

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