Nuclear Weapons Complex:

Establishing a National Risk-Based Strategy for Cleanup

T-RCED-95-120: Published: Mar 6, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1995.

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GAO discussed the cost of the Department of Energy's (DOE) cleanup of its nuclear weapons facilities and proposed legislation on DOE risk management. GAO noted that: (1) DOE has made limited progress in cleaning up its nuclear weapons facilities despite receiving $23 billion for environmental activities between 1989 and 1993; (2) most of DOE cleanup projects are still in the developmental stage; (3) unrealistic compliance agreements have impeded DOE cleanup efforts and have resulted in penalties and adversarial relationships with state and federal regulators; (4) future cleanup progress will depend on DOE adopting a national risk-based strategy to negotiate realistic agreements and milestones; (5) DOE is collecting health and environmental risk data that could form the basis for a national strategy for maximizing the impact of limited resources; (6) proposed legislation directs DOE to develop risk-based cleanup priorities and incorporate them into DOE budget, planning, and research activities; and (7) the proposed legislation should address more than DOE environmental restoration activities and permit regulators to participate in priority-setting.

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