Department of Energy:

Challenges Exist in Managing the Spallation Neutron Source Project

T-RCED-99-103: Published: Mar 3, 1999. Publicly Released: Mar 3, 1999.

Additional Materials:


Victor S. Rezendes
(202) 512-6082


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) management of the Spallation Neutron Source Project, focusing on the: (1) project's cost and schedule; and (2) effectiveness of the collaborating laboratories' coordination.

GAO noted that: (1) the project is not currently in trouble, but warning signs in three key areas raise concerns about whether it will be completed on time and within budget; (2) DOE has not assembled a complete team with the technical skills and experience needed to properly manage the project; (3) a permanent project director was just hired last week, 5 months after Congress approved the start of construction and over a year after the project's design was approved; (4) other important positions remain unfilled, including those of a technical director and an operations manager; (5) cost and schedule estimates for the project have not been fully developed; (6) furthermore, the project's contingency allowances for unforeseen costs and delays are too low for a project of this size and scope, according to project managers and DOE; (7) DOE's approach to managing the project requires an unprecedented level of collaboration among five different laboratories, managed through DOE's complex organizational structure; and (8) coupled with DOE's history of not successfully completing large projects on time and within budget, these warning signs make the Spallation Neutron Source project a significant management challenge for DOE and suggest a need for continued close oversight.

Mar 3, 2016

Feb 23, 2016

Feb 4, 2016

Jan 19, 2016

Nov 19, 2015

Oct 30, 2015

Oct 13, 2015

Oct 1, 2015

Sep 23, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here