Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

Information on Potential Budgetary Reductions for Fiscal Year 1999

RCED-98-157R: Published: Apr 30, 1998. Publicly Released: May 5, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) carryover balances and GAO's projection of potential fiscal year (FY) 1998 carryover balances; and (2) an examination of the unpaid balances for completed contracts and its research program.

GAO noted that: (1) overall, NRC has reduced its carryover balances from FY 1995 through FY 1997; (2) according to the Chief, Funds Control Branch, in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, NRC has made an effort since FY 1993 to reduce its carryover balances; (3) in commenting on a draft of this report, NRC noted that for the past 4 years, senior managers have been held accountable for their offices' financial performance, and NRC monitors and reports on unobligated and uncosted funds and expenditures to help senior managers assess their financial performance; (4) GAO has estimated potential reductions to NRC's FY 1999 budget request using several carryover balance goals--two of which are based on NRC's financial management performance measures; (5) NRC has significantly reduced its inventory of commercial contracts in the closeout process since its Office of Inspector General first identified this problem area in 1992; (6) however, NRC could still gain from focusing on closing out its contracts more quickly; (7) NRC uses the contract closeout process to reconcile all records and transactions between the agency and its contractors once the contracts are completed; (8) as of the end of January 1998, NRC was in the process of deobligating over $560,000 for 41 of the 155 contracts; (9) NRC stated that it will hold the remaining $2.1 million to pay final fees or rate adjustments when it closes the contracts; (10) NRC can use the $560,000 in this or subsequent fiscal years; (11) at the beginning of FY 1997, NRC funded 273 research projects; (12) at the end of the fiscal year, 241 of the projects showed carryover balances totalling about $39 million, including about $7 million from prior-year funds; and (13) according to project managers, the carryover balances occurred, in part, because of delays in billing from the contractors and late submission of information from utilities that contractors would analyze for NRC.

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