GAO's Views on DOE's 1991 Budget for Addressing Problems at the Nuclear Weapons Complex

T-RCED-90-33: Published: Mar 2, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) 1991 budget request relating to cleaning up and modernizing its nuclear weapons complex. GAO noted that: (1) to more effectively deal with its problems, DOE restructured its programmatic and safety organizations, issued a 5-year plan for environmental restoration and waste management, and undertook efforts to make contractors more accountable for environmental and safety matters; (2) Congress mandated the establishment of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board to help ensure the safe operation of DOE facilities; (3) although the full scope of DOE environmental problems was still unknown, estimates indicated that cleanup could cost up to $155 billion; (4) unresolved problems included the shut-down of several key facilities, delayed opening of a waste repository, reactor and facility operational safety, facility deterioration, and groundwater and soil contamination; (5) DOE requested $8.6 billion for its weapons complex, including $1.9 billion for modernization and safety upgrades; (6) DOE also requested $2.8 billion for environmental restoration and waste management for 1991; (7) DOE projected that funding for environmental restoration would continue to increase over the next 5 fiscal years; (8) DOE planned to perform some modernization efforts during 1991 without the benefit of an overall approved strategic plan; and (9) DOE identified several material weaknesses that could affect its ability to rebuild and clean up the nuclear weapons complex.

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