DOE's Management and Oversight of the Nuclear Weapons Complex

T-RCED-90-52: Published: Mar 22, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) management and oversight of the nuclear weapons complex, focusing on: (1) unresolved environmental, safety, and operational problems; (2) long-term management problems; (3) the current status of DOE management initiatives; and (4) its views on those initiatives. GAO noted that: (1) the costs of remedying continual safety and environmental problems regarding the aging and deterioration of DOE nuclear facilities, groundwater and soil contamination, and radioactive waste disposal could total $155 billion; (2) DOE has not developed strategies for addressing long-standing management problems concerning the emphasis on production over safety concerns, inadequate environmental and safety oversight, and a lack of technically qualified personnel; (3) DOE initiated actions to address long-standing management problems, including the restructuring of internal oversight responsibilities, issuance of environmental restoration, waste management, and modernization strategies, assessments of facilities' compliance with applicable regulations, and efforts to increase contractors' accountability; and (4) the success of recent management initiatives will depend on the commitment of DOE to environmental, safety, and health issues, effective coordination and cooperation among DOE oversight groups, and the availability of technically qualified personnel.

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