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United States General Accounting Office: 

Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial
Management and Intergovernmental Relations, Committee on Government 
Reform, House of Representatives. 

December 2002: 

Managing For Results: 

Efforts to Strengthen the Link Between Resources and Results at the 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: 


GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-03-258, a report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on 
Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental 
Relations, House Committee on Government Reform. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

Encouraging a clearer and closer link between budgeting and planning is 
essential to improving federal management and instilling a greater 
focus on results. Through work at various levels within the 
organization, this report on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)--
and its two companion studies on the Administration for Children and 
Families (GAO-03-09) and the Veterans Health Administration (GAO-03-
10)-- documents (1) what managers considered successful efforts at 
creating linkages between planning and performance information to 
influence resource choices and (2) the challenges managers face in
creating these linkages. 

What GAO Found: 

Although in differing stages of implementation throughout NRC, NRC 
designed the Planning, Budgeting, and Performance Management Process 
(PBPM) to better integrate its strategic planning, budgeting, and 
performance management processes. PBPM links four individual 
components: (1) setting the agency’s strategic direction, (2) 
determining activities and performance targets of component offices and 
related resources, (3) executing the budget and monitoring performance 
targets and taking corrective actions, if needed, to achieve those 
targets, and (4) assessing agency progress toward achieving its goals. 

GAO’s report provides examples of how the PBPM framework can influence 
budget formulation and execution decisions. These examples show (1) how 
NRC informs its resource allocation decisions by providing strategic 
direction to operating units prior to budget formulation, (2) how 
operating units that have implemented these processes link strategic
direction to budgets through tools that set priorities and assign 
resources to office activities to accomplish these priorities, and (3) 
how operating units monitor performance targets and make adjustments as 
necessary during budget execution. In addition, agency managers have 
told GAO that PBPM also promotes agencywide coordination of budget
formulation and execution decisions by providing a common language
and common goals. 

Integrating budget and planning processes and improving performance
management in NRC is an ongoing effort that includes addressing a
series of challenges. They are (1) creating performance measures that
balance competing goals and keep performance measures current,
(2) associating resource requests with outcomes, (3) standardizing PBPM
practices and techniques but still allowing some flexibility among 
offices to tailor the process to their needs, (4) developing the 
assessment component, and (5) committing significant effort to maintain 
PBPM. In addition, NRC must continue developing a cost accounting 
system to support PBPM. 


To view the full report, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Paul Posner (202) 512-

[End of section] 



Results in Brief: 


Scope and Methodology: 

The Current Budget and Planning Process: 

Planning and Performance Information Influences Resource Allocation 
Decisions in Various Ways: 

Challenges to Improving the NRC Budget and Planning Process: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 


Appendix I: Comments from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission: 


Figure 1: NRC Organization Chart: 

Figure 2: NRC’s Planning, Budgeting, and Performance Management 

Figure 3: NRC Linked Program Activities and Funding Allocations by 
General Goal (Fiscal Year 2002): 


CFO: Chief Financial Officer: 

EDO: Executive Director for Operations: 

GPRA: Government Performance and Results Act: 

NMSS: Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards: 

NRC: Nuclear Regulatory Commission: 

NRR: Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation: 

NSIR: Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response: 

OMB: Office of Management and Budget: 

PART: Program Performance Assessment Rating Tool: 

PBPM: Planning, Budgeting, and Performance Management Process: 

RES: Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research: 

RIRIP: Risk-Informed Regulation Implementation Plan: 

[End of section] 

United States General Accounting Office: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

December 10, 2002: 

The Honorable Stephen Horn: 
Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and 
Intergovernmental Relations: 
Committee on Government Reform: 
House of Representatives: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

During the past decade, the Congress and the executive branch have 
sought to improve federal management and instill a greater focus on 
results. By enacting a number of major management reforms, the Congress
has created a statutory framework, with the Government Performance and
Results Act (GPRA) as its centerpiece.[Footnote 1] One of GPRA’s major 
purposes is to encourage a closer and clearer link between planning, 
performance—that is, results, and the budget process. Each 
administration takes a slightly different approach to implementing 
results management. Improving the integration of budget and performance 
is a high priority initiative in the President’s Management Agenda. 
[Footnote 2] A central piece of that initiative is the Office of 
Management and Budget’s (OMB) new diagnostic tool, the Program 
Performance Assessment Rating Tool (PART). PART is designed to provide 
a consistent approach to reviewing program design, planning, and goals 
development as well as program management and results. OMB expects to 
use PART assessments in considering department and agency budget 
submissions for the fiscal year 2004 President’s Budget request to
the Congress. [Footnote 3] 

In a number of different reports to the Congress, we have examined
different aspects of the resources-to-results link. A series of three 
reports described agencies’ progress over a 4-year period in aligning 
performance plans; budgets; and, in the most recent report, financial 
statements. [Footnote 4] We found that from fiscal years 1999 through 
2002, agencies made significant progress in showing a direct link 
between expected performance and requested program activity funding 
levels—either through structural changes or crosswalks—as the first 
step in defining the performance consequences of budgetary decisions. 
However, we concluded that additional effort was needed to describe the 
relationship between performance expectations, requested funding, 
consumed resources, and performance results. Furthermore, we found that 
progress likely would be uneven and the pace of development affected by 
mission complexity and differences in operating environments across the 
government. Finally, we observed that describing the planned and actual 
use of resources in terms of measurable results was an essential long-
term effort that would take time and adaptation on the part of all 

We also studied ways to guide agencies to better integrate performance
information into the budget process. [Footnote 5] In this work, we 
developed a framework of budget practices that we believe can 
contribute to an agency’s capacity to manage for results. We view these 
practices as desirable dimensions of budgeting that could be 
implemented in many different ways to reflect the characteristics and 
circumstances of a particular agency. Both our assessments of 
performance and budget account alignments and the framework of budget 
practices have led to the next phase of work and the subject of this 
report. This report—one of a group of three—looks at the resources-to-
results link from the perspective of agency managers charged with 
making the link happen. 

The objectives of this report on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC), and its two companion studies on the Administration for Children
and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services and the
Veterans Health Administration within the Department of Veterans 
Affairs, are (1) to document what managers in these three agencies 
considered successful efforts at creating links between planning and 
performance information to influence resource choices and (2) the 
challenges they face in doing so. For the purposes of this report, we 
take a broad view of performance information—possible sources include 
GPRA and program evaluations. We neither evaluated agency choices nor 
critiqued their processes. Instead, we asked managers to describe when 
and how planning and performance information was included in the budget 
cycle, to explain what strategies were used and why, and to provide 
evidence that there was a related programmatic effect. A secondary 
purpose was to show that there are multiple ways to establish these 
links, and that there can be successful applications even if progress 
in budget and performance integration is uneven. 

Budgeting is and will remain an exercise in political choice in which
performance can be one, but not necessarily the only, factor underlying
decisions. However, efforts to infuse performance information into 
resource allocation decisions can more explicitly inform budget 
discussions and focus them—both in the Congress and in agencies—on 
expected results rather than on inputs. We believe that showcasing 
agencies’ successes with and challenges in integrating budgeting and
planning may prove useful to other agencies; congressional authorizing,
appropriations, and oversight committees; and OMB in the shared goal of
strengthening the link between program performance and resources. 

Results in Brief: 

NRC designed the Planning, Budgeting, and Performance Management
Process (PBPM) to better integrate its strategic planning, budgeting, 
and performance management processes. Its implementation is a work in
progress. As designed, the process has four major components; the 
results of each component influence the other components. The four 
component processes are (1) setting the agency’s strategic direction, 
(2) determining activities and performance targets of component offices 
and necessary resources to accomplish the work, (3) executing the 
budget and monitoring performance targets and making adjustments, if 
needed, to achieve those targets, and (4) assessing agency progress 
toward achieving its goals. NRC officials describe PBPM as a framework 
through which planning and performance information can influence 
decisions in budget formulation and execution. NRC provides strategic 
direction to operating units prior to budget formulation through its 
strategic and performance plans and other policy decisions. For 
example, the strategy of risk-informed regulation and NRC’s four 
performance goals guided offices involved in the implementation of a 
revised nuclear power reactor oversight program. 

Two PBPM techniques in particular provide a link between agency goals
and budget decisions for individual office work activities. 

* The first technique is NRC’s use of effectiveness reviews, where
individual offices set priorities for work activities based on their
contribution to achieving NRC performance goals. The prioritization
process questions why NRC is doing the work and whether the results,
that is, outcomes, are worth the planned budgetary resources. Offices
that had conducted effectiveness reviews prior to September 11, 2001,
used information from those reviews to plan for work changes based
upon new security threats. 

* The second technique is NRC’s use of operational planning reports.
Once offices set work priorities, they monitor both work activity
performance and budgets during program implementation. For example, 
offices monitored license renewal activities throughout the fiscal year 
so resources could be adjusted to achieve annual program performance 

In addition, PBPM also promotes agencywide coordination of budget
formulation and execution decisions by providing a common language and
common goals. 

Integrating budget and planning processes and improving performance
management in NRC is an ongoing effort that requires NRC to address a
series of challenges that it had identified. The primary challenge 
facing NRC is to further develop the concepts and techniques 
established within the various components of PBPM and to refine 
agencywide implementation (e.g., by standardizing the priority ranking 
system). Integral to this challenge is keeping performance measures 
current to reflect new programs and industry practices, balancing 
efforts to standardize agency-level processes against individual office 
flexibility to implement PBPM, and improving performance assessment. As 
part of this challenge, NRC also faces an issue common to other federal 
agencies linking outcomes and resources—how to show progress in an 
annual budget process for activities such as research that may take 
years to produce results. Both the nature of these challenges and the 
additional work necessary to implement PBPM present a continuing 
workload challenge to NRC. In addition, NRC must also finish 
implementing a cost accounting system that correlates cost and 
performance information. 


NRC is an independent federal agency that (1) establishes standards and
regulations for commercial nuclear power plants and non-power research,
test, and training reactors; fuel cycle facilities; medical, academic, 
and industrial uses of nuclear materials; and the transport, storage, 
and disposal of nuclear materials and wastes, (2) issues licenses for 
nuclear facilities and uses of nuclear materials, such as industrial 
applications, nuclear medicine, academic activities, and research work, 
and (3) inspects facilities and the uses of nuclear materials to ensure 
compliance with regulatory requirements. 

While safety is a paramount goal, a reassessment in 2001 added three
subordinate performance goals to NRC’s strategic plan: (1) to make NRC
activities and decisions more effective, efficient, and realistic, (2) 
to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on industry without affecting 
safety, and (3) to increase public confidence in NRC actions. 

Figure 1 shows NRC’s organization. NRC is governed by a five-member 
commission with one member designated by the President to serve as
Chairman. The Chairman serves as the principal executive officer and
official spokesperson of the commission. Reporting to the Commission
Chairman is the Executive Director for Operations (EDO). The EDO is the
chief operational and administrative officer of NRC, and is generally
responsible for executing the program policies and decisions made by the
NRC. Also reporting to the Commission Chairman is the Chief Financial
Officer (CFO), who is responsible for the agency’s PBPM and all of NRC’s
financial management activities. NRC is organized into seven program
offices under the EDO. The Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR),
the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS), the Office 
of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES), and the newly created Office of
Nuclear Security and Incident Response (NSIR) are NRC’s four largest
offices. It also has three smaller program offices, various other
management and mission support offices, and four regional offices. 

Figure 1: NRC Organization Chart: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is the NRC organizational chart depicting direct reporting 
relationships, general supervision, advisory bodies, the NRC's seven 
program offices, and the areas of GAO study, which include: 
Executive Director for Operations; 
Office of Chief Financial Officer; 
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards; 
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research; 
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation; 
Region II, Atlanta, Georgia. 

Source: NRC. 

{End of figure] 

While strategic planning, budgeting, and program implementation involve
headquarters offices and regional operations, we focused our work on 
those offices that NRC officials said had more experience in PBPM 
implementation. The Office of the CFO which includes the Division of 
Planning, Budget, and Analysis, is responsible for NRC’s financial 
management and reporting under GPRA. NRR licenses and inspects nuclear 
power reactors and non-power reactors. NMSS directs and oversees 
licensing, inspection, and environmental activities for nuclear fuel
cycle facilities and safeguards nuclear materials, including the 
management and disposal of high- and low-level radioactive wastes. RES
provides technical support to the frontline regulatory activities 
involving licensing and inspection, oversight and development of 
regulatory products. NSIR combines NMSS responsibilities for protection 
of fuel cycle facilities and materials with NRR responsibilities for 
physical security at nuclear power plants and other facilities. 
[Footnote 6] The four regions execute NRC policies and various programs 
relating to inspection, licensing, enforcement, investigation, 
governmental liaison, as well as emergency response within their 
regional boundaries. 

NRC employed approximately 2,900 people and had a total budget of
approximately $559 million in fiscal year 2002. Of that amount, the
Congress transferred about $23.7 million from the Nuclear Waste Fund. 
[Footnote 7] The remainder was to be financed by a mix of revenues from 
licensing, inspection services, and other services and collections, and 
amounts from the general fund of the Treasury. These amounts were made 
available in NRC’s annual appropriations and in an emergency 
supplemental appropriation to support homeland-security-related 
activities. Over half of NRC’s annual budget is used to pay staff 
salaries and benefits. The remaining funds are used to support other 
operating expenses, purchase technical assistance for regulatory 
programs, and conduct safety research. 

During the 1990s, various concerns were raised about NRC’s performance,
particularly the way NRC conducted inspections and promulgated 
regulations. Agency officials told us that NRC’s former Commission 
Chairman, Shirley Jackson, was concerned that NRC’s practices were
narrowly focused on ensuring that its activities and processes were
consistent with regulatory law without adequate attention to the 
results of its activities. Both the nuclear industry and public 
interest groups criticized NRC’s plant assessment and enforcement 
processes as lacking objectivity, consistency, and predictability. 
[Footnote 8] An NRC report also described its former regulatory 
approach as punitive and reactive. According to a senior agency 
official, the agency was concerned that the Congress would cut about 
one-third of the agency’s staff from the NRC budget for fiscal year 
1999 unless the agency changed the way it conducted business. 

NRC took various steps to improve regulatory oversight and agency
management. These changes included a comprehensive strategic planning
effort from 1995 to 1997 to reassess and establish new baselines for its
programs, led by then-Chairman Jackson. NRC also charged the OCFO and
the former Executive Council [Footnote 9] with developing a new 
planning, budgeting, and performance management process. NRC staff said 
that PBPM changes also supported the agency’s efforts to implement 
GPRA. NRC established PBPM in the fall of 1997 and implemented a pilot 
project in NRR. In 1999, NRC extended PBPM to NMSS and RES for the 
fiscal year 2000 budget. NRC plans to further develop PBPM to include 
more detailed procedures, the products involved, and the roles of 
various management levels. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To achieve our objectives, we interviewed selected NRC staff members 
from the offices of the EDO, the CFO, and the Chief Information Officer;
from three headquarters offices in Rockville, Maryland (NRR, NMSS, and
RES); and from the Region II (Atlanta) office for their perspectives on
PBPM and how it supports resource decisions. The Region II office was
selected because, according to NRC officials, this region had been 
instrumental in developing a cohesive operating plan—one of the PBPM
techniques used by NRC to enhance coordination among program offices 
and regions. Within these organizations, we interviewed officials at 
various levels of management involved in the budget decision-making 
process, including office directors, division directors, and unit 
managers. In total, we interviewed more than 30 NRC officials on the 
various aspects of planning and budgeting practices. We reviewed NRC’s 
planning, budget, and program documents, including strategic plans, 
annual performance plans, budget requests, operating plans, and 
performance reports, that support PBPM. 

This report presents NRC’s budget and planning practices as described by
the NRC officials we interviewed and described in the NRC documents we
reviewed. The views of those individuals and the information in these
documents, which we have summarized for reporting purposes, may not
necessarily be generalized across NRC. We also did not observe or
evaluate the processes in operation, nor did we assess the program or
financial information contained in documents provided by NRC. We also
did not evaluate the completeness or accuracy of NRC performance goals
and measures or the effectiveness of NRC rule making, licensing,
inspection, and oversight programs. [Footnote 10] Our work was 
conducted from February through May of 2002 in accordance with 
generally accepted government auditing standards. 

The Current Budget and Planning Process: 

Implementation of PBPM is a work in progress. PBPM was created by NRC
to improve program and service performance by integrating NRC’s 
strategic planning and budgeting processes. This section describes how
components of the process were designed to operate, while the next 
section (“Planning and Performance Information Influences Resource 
Allocation Decisions in Various Ways”) explains how performance 
information informs resource decisions in those offices that have
implemented PBPM and its techniques. 

PBPM: A Work in Progress: 

NRC has gradually introduced PBPM techniques across the agency and has
allowed offices some flexibility during implementation of the process.
NRC began implementation in its larger program and mission support
offices. As NRC has gained experience, it is examining ways to extend 
the process to the smaller program and mission support offices and to 
more fully standardize PBPM techniques across the agency. 

NRC designed PBPM as an integrated process that functions most 
effectively when information from one component is used to inform
decisions in other components. Figure 2 shows how the four components
interact over a budget cycle. For example, the strategic direction 
setting in Component 1 relies in part on the assessment elements in 
Component 4. The effectiveness review element in Component 2 relies on 
performance goals developed during strategic direction setting. 
Finally, the assessment elements in Component 4 incorporate information 
gathered from Component 3, performance monitoring, to identify topics 
for program evaluations and self-assessments. 

Figure 2: NRC’s Planning, Budgeting, and Performance Management 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is a depiction of NRC’s Planning, Budgeting, and 
Performance Management Process, indicating the interaction of the four 

Source: GAO analysis. 

[End of figure] 

Four Components of PBPM: 

Component 1: Setting the Strategic Direction: 

In Component 1, NRC establishes agencywide strategic direction by
formulating the strategic plan and by issuing Commission guidance
throughout the year. The plan includes NRC’s strategic and performance
goals and corresponding measures and identifies general strategies on 
how best to achieve the agency’s mission. The plan is developed with
Commission and stakeholder involvement by a senior management group
with a broad perspective of the agency, and is approved by the
Commission. Although the plan covers 5 years and is reexamined every 3
years as required by GPRA, if circumstances warrant, the plan can be
changed more often.[Footnote 11] The plan also establishes a framework 
called “strategic arenas,” each of which is composed of related 
programs with a common purpose. [Footnote 12] NRC’s strategic arenas 
correspond to program activities in the President’s budget. In 
addition, the Commission provides direction to its managers on programs 
and operations through various written directives. 

Component 2: Determining Planned Accomplishments and Resources: 

In Component 2, managers in offices using PBPM employ a set of
interrelated tools to translate agency goals and strategies into 
individual office work activities,[Footnote 13] performance targets, 
and resource needs. To determine how work activities contribute to 
achieving NRC’s four performance goals,[Footnote 14] individual offices 
conduct what are called effectiveness reviews. These reviews are not 
comprehensive assessments of programs but rather a structured way for 
managers to evaluate the contribution of work activities to achieving 
performance goals prior to budget formulation. For example, an office 
will examine each of its work activities and ask how a given activity 
achieves each of the performance goals. Effectiveness reviews also 
assist offices in identifying where there are gaps in activities or 
where new initiatives are needed. Agency officials said that offices 
that conduct these reviews have used various methodologies to rank 
office activities relative to agency performance goals. 

According to agency officials, if an office determines through an
effectiveness review that activities are not critical to achieving NRC
performance goals, the office will likely propose reducing or 
eliminating resources for the activity in the upcoming budget year. 
[Footnote 15] Effectiveness review discussions may begin prior to the 
start of the annual budget process, concurrent with Component 1 
activities establishing strategic direction. These discussions enable 
senior management to provide guidance on expectations for work 
priorities (targets). 

The budget assumptions document is a tool used to plan work activities
based on workload and set performance targets. This document identifies
external and internal factors, such as anticipated number of license
reviews that will affect the agency’s workload over the next 2 fiscal 
years. These assumptions are developed by the offices and approved by 
NRC executive-level managers. These assumptions then become key inputs 
for offices when formulating their resource needs for the upcoming 
budget year. 

Each budget assumption is supported by a summary of the factors that
were evaluated to produce the assumption and to indicate the likelihood
that this assumption will materialize. For example, the fiscal year 
2003-2004 budget assumptions document estimates approximately 1,500
enforcement actions for each year. This estimate is based on historical
trends and anticipated results from implementation of the revised 
reactor oversight process. In addition, the budget assumptions document 
includes related information that may affect the assumptions. In the 
above example, NRC is attempting to integrate Alternative Dispute 
Resolution techniques [Footnote 16] into the enforcement program, a 
decision that may require additional resources to implement. 

Finally, through its annual budget call NRC provides instructions to
individual offices for developing office budget priorities. Individual 
offices submit budgets to the NRC executive level by program. These 
submissions address resources needed by each office to accomplish NRC 
strategic and performance goals. A group of senior managers then 
reviews office budget submissions by strategic arena and submits the 
proposed office budget to the CFO and EDO. The CFO and EDO then submit 
their proposed budget to the Chairman for Commission approval. After 
Commission approval, NRC submits a combined annual budget and 
performance plan to OMB for inclusion in the President’s budget. The 
combined budget and performance plan also serves as the agency’s budget 
justification to the Congress. Figure 3 shows how NRC’s performance 
plan links program activities and funding allocations by goal. 

Figure 3: NRC Linked Program Activities and Funding Allocations by 
General Goal (Fiscal Year 2002): 

[See PDF for image] 

Agency: NRC; 
Account: Salaries and Expenses; 
Program activity in fiscal year 2002 (dollars in millions): 
1. Nuclear reactor safety program areas ($259.2): 
Reactor licensing ($56.0); 
Reactor license renewal ($13.1); 
Reactor inspection and performance assessment ($70.4); 
Reactor incident response ($7.0); 
Reactor safety research ($57.3); 
Reactor technical training ($9.8); 
Reactor enforcement actions ($1.8); 
Reactor investigations ($4.1); 
Reactor legal advice ($2.5); 
Reactor adjudication ($1.2); 
New reactor licensing ($10.0); 
Homeland Security ($26.0); 
General goal: Nuclear reactor safety ($259.2); 
Performance goal: Maintain safety, protection of the environment, and 
the common defense and security. Increase public confidence. Make NRC
activities and decisions more effective, efficient, and realistic. 
Reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on stakeholders. 
2. Nuclear materials safety program area. 
3. Nuclear waste safety program program area. 
4. International nuclear safety support program area. 
5. Management and support program area. 

Source: GAO table NRC figures. 

[End of figure] 

Component 3: Measuring and Monitoring Performance: 

In Component 3, NRC executes the approved budget through office
operating plans [Footnote 17] based on appropriations, congressional 
guidance, and Commission priorities. Each office prepares operating 
plans to reflect the allocation of staff years and funds available 
following appropriations action and OMB apportionment. The operating 
plans, tailored by each office implementing PBPM, tie allocated staff 
and other resources to each work activity and to performance goals and 
define how success is measured for each activity. 

As the budget is executed, operating plans also are used to compare 
actual office resources to budget estimates and actual performance to 
targeted performance, and to identify necessary programmatic and fiscal 
actions. Based on targets established in the operating plans, 
individual offices develop quarterly reports on the status of resources 
and performance. Any performance issues identified in the quarterly 
reports are discussed with the deputy executive director responsible 
for that particular office. Generally, when an office meets with its 
cognizant deputy executive director, it has prepared a course of 
corrective action it intends to take. However, if an issue is 
significant, senior staff members will meet with their deputy when they 
become aware of the issue rather than wait for the quarterly operating 
plan update. Follow-up actions are incorporated into the next scheduled 
operating plan meeting as appropriate. The Office of the EDO does not 
prepare quarterly reports summarizing its review of office operating 
plans for the Commission. Instead, the Commission is kept informed of 
operating plan issues throughout the year by various means including 
Commission meetings, staff papers, the Budget Execution Report, and 
individual briefings. Finally, performance results are reported 
annually through a publicly available agency performance report. 

Component 4: Assessing Performance: 

In Component 4, NRC assesses agency performance. This component is 
designed to use information from and feed information to other 
components. Although this component is the least developed of the four
components, products are intended to both inform future planning and
budget deliberations and further improve performance. (A later section 
of this report, “Challenges to Improving the NRC Budget and Planning
Process,” more fully discusses challenges to improving the assessment
component). When fully operational, this component should help NRC to
determine whether a program should be continued, restructured, or
curtailed and, as designed, may influence planning and budget decisions 
in Components 1 and 2. In July 2002, NRC proposed that this component
include performance reviews conducted for the four major strategic 
arenas as well as selected management and support offices. However, no 
decision has been made on who in NRC will conduct these reviews. In 
addition, individual offices can identify issues during the performance 
monitoring component that they may select for internal self-assessments 
during Component 4. 

Planning and Performance Information Influences Resource Allocation 
Decisions in Various Ways: 

PBPM provides NRC with a framework through which it can use performance 
information to influence planning and resource allocation decisions and 
is consistent in key respects with our framework for budget practices. 
[Footnote 18] NRC informs its resource allocation decisions by providing
strategic direction to operating units prior to budget formulation and 
by monitoring actual performance against performance targets during 
budget execution. PBPM also promotes agencywide coordination of budget
formulation and execution decisions by providing a common language and
common goals. 

Strategic Direction Influences Resource Allocation Decisions: 

A key principle driving PBPM is that the agency’s strategic direction 
influences internal policy and resource decisions. NRC seeks to use PBPM
to identify general strategies to achieve goals, identify programs to 
implement these strategies, and determine resources to fund and staff 
programs. NRC practices are similar to those proposed in our framework
for budget practices. Under the framework for budget practices, agency
management should provide context during budget formulation in the form
of general guidance to program managers on proposed agency goals, 
existing performance issues, and resource constraints—consistent with
Components 1 and 2 of PBPM. The following are examples of operation
and program decisions that link NRC’s strategic direction with
corresponding resource decisions made though PBPM. 

One of the strategies used to implement the four performance goals in 
the strategic plan is risk-informed regulation and oversight. This 
strategy uses risk assessment findings, engineering analysis, and 
performance history to focus attention on the most important safety-
related activities; establishes objective criteria to evaluate 
performance; develops measures to assess licensee performance; and uses 
performance results as the primary basis for making regulatory 

As part of its risk-informed regulation and oversight strategy, NRC 
modified its reactor oversight program to help achieve its three 
subordinate performance goals—developed through Component 1—while 
maintaining its primary safety goal. [Footnote 19] The Commission 
provided guidance throughout the development and implementation of the 
revised reactor oversight program. This guidance included requirements 
for staff reporting to the Commission, approval of a pilot program, and 
instructions for future program development. In one modification to the 
inspection process, NRC stopped inspecting some elements affecting the 
plant operators’ work environments (e.g., how well lights in the plant 
illuminate the operating panel). NRC determined that these factors did 
not critically contribute to safety and created unnecessary regulatory 
burdens to industry. Regional officials told us that NRC could now 
focus on the significant work activities that maintain safety. 

The reactor oversight program’s procedure for assessing nuclear plants
was also changed to increase public confidence in NRC operations by
increasing the predictability, consistency, objectivity, and 
transparency of the oversight process. Each quarter, NRC posts the 
performance of each nuclear plant on its Web site to provide more 
information to the public. Regional officials told us that the overall 
level of resources required to implement the revised reactor oversight 
program is similar to that of the prior oversight program but that 
significant changes have occurred in how they manage their inspection 
program. Specifically, the new inspection procedure includes baseline 
inspections of all plants but focuses more of the agency’s resources on 
plants that demonstrate performance problems. Whether the revised 
reactor oversight program will reduce costs is unknown, but regional 
officials said that potentially fewer resources may be needed in the 
future using this approach. NRC established a focus group to identify 
where or how possible resource savings could occur. 

As part of its risk-informed regulation and oversight strategy, NRC
developed the Risk-Informed Regulation Implementation Plan (RIRIP),
which is updated periodically. The first RIRIP, issued in October 2000,
examined a range of staff activities including rule making to achieve 
NRC performance goals. The Commission provided guidance throughout the
development and implementation of the new plan, including instructions 
for future program development as NRC updates the plan. To facilitate 
its use, the plan is organized around the strategic arenas. Organizing 
the plan around arenas helps offices to establish priorities and 
identify resources as part of PBPM. For example, the plan describes 
activities designed to improve fire protection for nuclear power 
plants. In this area, NRC plans to develop less prescriptive, more 
performance-based risk-informed regulations to support its primary goal 
of safety. NRC is working with industry to study alternatives to 
existing fire protection standards and emergency postfire shutdown 

A senior NRC official gave additional examples of changes NRC has made
to its regulations to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on licensees
without compromising safety. He cited the decision to have NRC oversee,
but no longer perform, examinations to qualify power plant operators 
since the industry conducts its own examinations. In addition, this 
official said NRC eliminated its regulation requiring all nuclear power 
plants to install state-of-the-art equipment, for example, they could 
continue to use analog rather than digital equipment, focusing instead 
on whether use of the current equipment adversely affected safety. 

NRC also changed its licensing regulations to support its performance
goals of reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on licensees and 
becoming more effective and efficient. One official said NRC changed its
regulation governing the length of a power plant license from 40 years 
to 60 years in some circumstances. Before this change, NRC would only 
license a power plant for 40 years. At the end of the 40-year license 
period, the licensee would be required to shut down and decommission 
the plant. [Footnote 20] The change in regulation means that NRC will 
extend the term of a license from 40 to 60 years if it determines 
through licensing review that existing plant design will support a 
longer term. According to NRC officials, these license extensions can 
eliminate extremely large costs to licensees while reducing NRC costs 
because it is less costly to renew a plant operating license than to 
review a request for a license for a new power plant. The Commission 
directed the reorganization of NRC’s three major NRC program offices so 
that they could become more effective and efficient. For example, in 
NRR the reorganization established reporting lines consistent with 
major NRR program functions—inspection, performance assessment, license 
renewal, and licensing. An NRR official said the previous 
organizational structure in NRC had contributed to inconsistent 
processes for inspecting power plants and duplication of work. 

To address the overall safety goal, NRC developed a program to measure
trends in industry nuclear power reactor performance. One part of the
safety goal is that there should be no statistically significant adverse
industry trends in safety performance. [Footnote 21] Performance 
indicators are included in the NRC performance plan and are reported to 
the Congress through the NRC annual performance report. Resources for 
this new program are determined through PBPM. 

Work Performance Influences Resource Allocation Decisions: 

NRC uses performance information to inform resource allocation decisions
during budget execution by monitoring current year work performance and
by adjusting resource allocations as necessary. This practice is 
consistent with our proposed framework for budget practices. As noted 
previously, office operating plans track performance against 
established targets for each planned work activity to call attention to 
significant performance issues needing corrective action. For example, 
shortly after September 11, 2001, NRC conducted a comprehensive review 
of its security program. As part of this review, NRC examined lists of 
prioritized work activities prepared during the effectiveness review 
process in Component 2. These lists helped NRC determine which 
activities to delete or modify as it prepared to use existing resources 
to respond to security threats in the post-September 11 environment. 
For example, NRC staffed around-the-clock emergency response centers 
for significantly longer than originally anticipated. 

As part of this comprehensive review of its security program, NRC began
research on the structural integrity of power plants if they were 
attacked by large aircraft. NRC also delayed routine inspections at non-
power reactors for 3 months to help fund these new activities. 
[Footnote 22] In addition, in April 2002, NRC established NSIR to 
streamline selected NRC security, safeguards, and incident response 
responsibilities and related resources. [Footnote 23] 

Operating plans are also used to monitor performance and make necessary
adjustments. For example, NRR discovered that the May 2000 operating
plan report showed plant license renewal applications and associated 
staff years well below annual expected target levels that year. NRR was 
thus able to shift resources to other priorities. An NRR official said 
this example showed NRR the importance of monthly monitoring of the 
budget assumptions prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. 
Furthermore, in another example, NRR management officials also reviewed 
the fiscal year 2002 first quarter operating plan report and found that 
the workload impact from the September 11 attacks would prevent NRR 
from achieving annual licensing action targets. These officials 
redirected additional staff resources to complete these licensing 
actions. As a result, the third quarter projection is that NRR will 
slightly exceed its annual target for these actions. 

Enhanced Cooperation and Communication among Offices: 

PBPM is designed to enhance cooperation and coordination among offices.
This practice matches our proposed framework for budget practices,
which states that agency managers should share information on policy and
programs among offices during budget decision making. 

Sharing information during budgeting is important because many offices
share responsibilities for achieving NRC goals. NRC office managers said
they coordinate their work with others to determine if necessary skills 
are already available elsewhere in the agency. For example, one 
official said he relies on another unit’s expertise in conducting 
environmental studies. In another example, regional officials reported 
that they occasionally share specialized staff with other regions to 
perform nonroutine inspections. 

PBPM provides NRC with reference points such as common goals, 
performance measures, and strategies that help offices communicate and
reach agreement on budget priorities. For example, NRR, which depends
upon research studies conducted by RES, meets regularly with that office
to discuss program and budget priorities for risk analysis, structural
integrity, and new reactor designs. [Footnote 24] NRR also meets with 
other offices as it develops its budget proposal to coordinate its 
resource requests for mutually agreed-upon priorities. For instance, 
NRR shares information with NMSS to ensure that crosscutting 
activities, such as rule making, have adequate resources. In addition, 
the NRC crosswalk of all program activities into strategic arenas 
allows NRC to clarify the relationship between budget requests and 
agency goals. Our report on federal agency efforts in linking 
performance plans with budgets found that NRC’s budget presentation 
linked its program activities to performance goals, which showed 
funding needed to achieve goals. [Footnote 25] NRC uses the arena 
reporting structure to communicate its budget needs to audiences 
outside the agency, including OMB and the Congress. [Footnote 26] 

Challenges to Improving the NRC Budget and Planning Process: 

When it introduced PBPM, NRC recognized that continued development of
the process would be necessary. After gaining experience for several 
years, NRC is now in the process of addressing several challenges to 
PBPM implementation. Agency officials noted challenges in (1) creating
performance measures that balance competing goals and keep performance 
measures current, (2) associating resource requests with outcomes, (3) 
standardizing PBPM practices and techniques but still allowing 
individual offices to tailor the process to their needs, (4) developing 
the assessment component, and (5) committing significant effort to 
maintaining PBPM. In addition, NRC must continue developing a cost 
accounting system to support PBPM. 

NRC Efforts to Develop PBPM: 

Issues in Creating Performance Measures That Balance Goals and Remain 
Current and Linked to Resources: 

As NRC officials create new performance measures or redesign existing
measures, they find it a challenge to refine performance measures so 
that they balance performance goals. While safety is a paramount goal, 
NRC also seeks to progress in reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on 
the industry and improving public confidence in NRC’s operations. One 
official said it is a balancing act to minimize the time and steps it 
takes to license a facility while at the same time being sure that the 
agency is licensing a safe operation. Several NRC officials also said 
current performance measures track office efficiency well but capture 
the quality of license review poorly. NRC officials said they are 
beginning to develop performance measures that better capture quality. 
For example, NRR is now using a template to assess the quality of its 
evaluation of safety issues during review of licensing actions. 
Officials believe that when measures of quality are in place, they can 
be used to determine whether adjusting budget resources will have an 
effect on the quality of their activities. 

New strategies, such as risk-based regulation and oversight programs, 
can dictate changes in performance measures. NRC must also keep its
performance measures relevant as the industry changes. Several examples
illustrate these points. NRC plans to develop new performance measures
for reviewing applications to upgrade power output from existing plants
because of concern that existing measures did not accurately measure NRC
performance in this area. In another example, NRC is studying new 
performance measures to determine if it can predict, and thus avoid,
emergent problems in the Reactor Oversight Program. NRC and industry
representatives jointly developed a new set of performance indicators to
measure availability of nuclear plant safety systems. NRC believes the 
new performance indicators will provide more accurate risk assessments. 

Link between Expected Outcomes and Resource Requests Is Not Always 

NRC officials said that linking outcomes to resources is challenging for
several reasons. First, the budget process focuses on performance 
targets and budget decisions for the short term while achieving some 
outcomes may take many years. Therefore, it is difficult to know the 
incremental effect of adjusting resources annually for longer-term 
outcomes. For example, one official noted that research leading to 
safer reactor design takes many years to bear fruit. Agency officials 
said linking outcomes to resources is also difficult because achieving 
many agency goals depends on the actions of others not directly under 
NRC’s control. NRC’s strategic plan states that achieving its strategic 
goals [Footnote 27] requires the collective efforts of NRC, licensees, 
and the agreement states. [Footnote 28] Yet, as one NRC official noted, 
neither NRC nor stakeholder representatives could identify how much each
contributes to achieving NRC strategic goals. Nonetheless, this 
official said that both NRC and stakeholders strongly believe in 
establishing quantifiable outcome measures so that all stakeholders 
understand NRC’s goals. While the particular links and 
interdependencies are specific to NRC, many of these challenges 
permeate federal agencies. Many federal programs depend on other 
actors. For many federal activities ultimate outcomes are years away, 
but ways must be found to evaluate progress and make resource decisions 
annually. [Footnote 29] 

Standardizing Practices and Techniques while Maintaining Office 
Flexibility Is Difficult: 

A continuing challenge during PBPM implementation is to determine which
process techniques and information should be standardized across 
offices. For example, NRC officials said the major program offices use 
different procedures and methodologies to rank the contribution of 
their work activities to achieving NRC performance goals. Nonstandard 
weighing of priorities has made cross-office comparisons of activities 
and related resource allocation decisions more challenging for NRC 
officials. NRC officials said they established a task force to develop 
a common methodology to prioritize the contributions of the major 
program offices to NRC goals. They said their goal is to have aspects 
of a common ranking process among the major program offices for the 
fiscal year 2005 budget. In addition, NRC is in the process of further 
defining the roles and responsibilities of participants in PBPM through 
a management directive. 

In a related example, an NRC official said the agency faces a challenge 
to improve comparison of performance measures across both major program
and mission support offices. Major NRC program offices are required to
include agency strategic goals and performance goal measures in their
annual operating plans. These measures are reported in the annual
performance report by strategic arena. However, mission support offices
are not required to report on these strategic performance goals. 
[Footnote 30] In addition, each office has been permitted to develop 
additional, office-specific, detailed performance measures to provide 
supplemental management information. 

The Assessment Component Needs Further Work: 

NRC officials describe NRC’s current assessment process as the weakest
component of PBPM. These officials said existing guidance does not
adequately describe what an assessment is or how to select programs for
evaluation. Since there is not a clear definition of what qualifies as 
an assessment within Component 4, NRC performance reports vary and may
not capture the full range of assessments that occurred or are planned 
at NRC. 

Because information contained in assessments is intended to inform the
other PBPM components, NRC officials see the performance assessment
component as a critical element of its process. For example, performance
assessments can capture key information on how the agency is performing
that can be used for setting the agency’s strategic direction. This 
practice, consistent with our framework for budget practices, can help 
NRC to seek continual improvement by evaluating current program 
performance and identifying alternative approaches to better achieve 
agency goals. 

NRC is taking steps to improve its assessment process by developing a 
new procedure for selecting programs and activities for evaluation. In 
July 2002, NRC established annual performance reviews for the four major
strategic arenas and an annual assessment plan that identifies subjects 
for evaluation during the upcoming fiscal year. Programs will be 
selected for evaluation where a strong potential exists for performance 
improvement, cost reduction, or both. Results of the program 
evaluations will inform the next strategic direction phase of PBPM and 
may also result in changes during the performance monitoring process. 

Implementation of New Processes Requires Commitment: 

Agency officials describe the introduction of PBPM as a culture shift
requiring a commitment of time and effort by NRC employees. NRC
officials said the agency sought to facilitate this cultural change by 
holding staff meetings at all levels and by using task force working 
groups to introduce PBPM. The introduction and evolution of PBPM also 
presents a continuing workload challenge to NRC. For example, one 
official said the detailed work associated with PBPM had been added to 
reporting requirements already in place. Nevertheless, key officials 
reported that implementing PBPM has been worth the time and effort 
because it provides a framework for more informed and focused resource 
allocation decisions. According to one official, PBPM has resulted in 
agency officials asking the key questions about why and how they 
conduct an activity. 

Cost Accounting System Not Fully Developed: 

NRC faces the challenge of developing a cost accounting system that can
support budget decision making. Developing a cost accounting system is
important to budget decision making because it can help managers track
direct, indirect, and unit costs of activities and compare the cost of
activities to appropriate benchmarks. [Footnote 31] The October 2001 
NRC Managerial Cost Accounting Remediation Plan noted that the prior 
accounting system supported general financial reporting but did not 
include a managerial cost accounting system. An example in the 
remediation plan states that labor hour tracking systems were not 
integrated with payroll systems. NRC officials said the agency has 
since developed a cost accounting system to help in resource allocation 
decisions. They said the new system will integrate payroll and 
nonpayroll costs at a level that will enable NRC to compare total 
direct costs of work activities with appropriate benchmarks. However, 
officials told us that they only started using the cost accounting
system in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2002 [Footnote 32] and 
plan to refine the information collected based on what is the most 
useful and relevant. Agency officials estimate that fully implementing 
the system will take 4 to 5 years. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We requested comments on a draft of this report from NRC. NRC expressed 
appreciation for our recognition of its efforts and progress and the 
fact that we note consistencies with our framework for budget 
practices. [Footnote 33] NRC expressed some concern about our report 
underrecognizing how far beyond conceptual stage PBPM is, about our
statement that a good cost accounting system was necessary, and about 
our reference to operating plans. We modified our language to clarify 
our views on the implementation of PBPM. The agency’s letter and our
response are contained in appendix I. NRC officials also provided
clarifying comments, which we have incorporated in the report as

We are sending copies of this report to the Chairman of the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission and will make copies available to other interested
parties upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no 
charge on the GAO Web site at [hyperlink,]. 

Please contact me on (202) 512-9573 or Denise Fantone, Assistant 
Director, on (202) 512-4997 if you or your staff has any questions 
about this report. Major contributors to this report are Robert Hadley, 
James Whitcomb, and Robert Yetvin. 

Sincerely yours, 

Signed by: 

Paul L. Posner: 
Managing Director, Federal Budget Analysis: 
Strategic Issues: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Comments from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission: 

Note: GAO comments supplementing those in the report text appear
at the end of this appendix. 

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission: 
Chief Financial Officer: 
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001: 

November 22, 2002: 

Mr. Paul L. Posner: 
Managing Director, Federal Budget, Intergovernmental Relations, 
Strategic Issues: 
United States General Accounting Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Mr. Posner: 

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to review and submit 
comments on the draft report, "Managing For Results: Efforts to 
Strengthen the Link Between Resources and Results at the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission" (GAO-03-258). We appreciate the time and effort 
that you and your staff have taken to review the agency's Planning, 
Budgeting, and Performance Management (PBPM) process and the 
methodology for incorporating performance in the budget process. 

We do have several comments on areas in the report that we feel require 
further clarification. First, the draft report implies that the NRC's 
PBPM process is not as developed as we find it to be. The PBPM process 
has progressed much beyond a conceptual stage to the point where the 
full framework was developed and implementation has taken place. As we 
have gained experience over the years from implementing PBPM, we have 
made and will continue to make refinements to the tools and 
methodologies employed in this process. We recommend that the 
discussion of the PBPM process be clarified to reflect these comments. 
[See comment 1] 

Second, the report discusses one system that supports the PBPM process, 
our cost accounting system that was implemented at the beginning of FY 
2002. While we agree that the cost accounting system produces important 
information to support the PBPM process and budget decisions, it is not 
the only agency system that provides meaningful information in support 
of PBPM. We recommend not singling out one system in this report. 
[See comment 2] 

Third, we are concerned about the numerous references to NRC's internal 
operating plan documents. As internal management tools used at the 
office and region level, our operating plans contain a level of detail 
on milestones and resources, most of which we treat as predecisional 
information. The report's emphasis on these working-level documents, as 
opposed to outcomes in the operational planning process, may result in 
readers failing to appropriately focus on the NRC's processes, and may 
lead to misperceptions and/or mischaracterization of operating plan 
documents. [See comment 3] 

Finally, the report mentions, in footnote 11, a conclusion from the 
lessons-learned task force work on Davis-Besse. Since the conclusion is 
presented out of context of the full report, it could be misleading and 
should be deleted. In addition, the focus of the draft report is on NRC 
performance and budget practices, not on Davis-Besse or any of the many 
other specific oversight programs and activities the NRC has 
undertaken. In fact, the body of the report indicates that the GAO was 
not evaluating the effectiveness of NRC rulemaking, licensing, 
inspection, and oversight programs, nor were any plant-specific 
activities reviewed. The specific reference to the Davis-Besse task 
force work, or to any plant-specific activities, is not appropriate. 
[See comment 4] 

We appreciate GAO's recognition of the progress that we have made. The 
draft indicates that our practices are consistent in key respects with 
the framework for budget practices that GAO developed. 

We will continue to work with your staff on other clarifying and 
editorial comments. Should you have any questions about this response, 
please contact Mr. Richard Rough of my staff at (301) 415-7540. 


Signed by: 

Jesse L. Funches: 
Chief Financial Officer: 

cc: Dwayne Weigel, GAO: 
Robert Yetvin, GAO: 

The following are GAO’s comments on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 
(NRC) letter dated November 22, 2002. 

GAO Comments: 

1. Our point is not that the Planning, Budgeting, and Performance 
Management Process is still at a conceptual stage but rather that 
implementation is in various stages throughout NRC, and that refinement 
of agencywide implementation is still necessary. This is consistent 
with what we were told and saw at NRC. We modified wording to clarify 
this point. (See pp. 4 and 9.) 

2. We consistently have said that good cost accounting is critical to
linking resources to results/outcomes. For example, in our recent
testimony on performance budgeting we said that the integration of
reliable cost accounting data into budget debates needs to become a
key part of the performance budgeting agenda. [Footnote 34] 

3. NRC uses operating plans to set milestones, track progress, and make
adjustments to improve program outcomes. This is—and was so described 
in our interviews at NRC— an important part of PBPM. 

4. The footnote was modified to clarify that this report neither 
observed nor evaluated reported safety problems in the Davis-Besse 
power plant. (See p. 9.) 

[End of section] 


[1] Other significant legislation includes the Chief Financial Officers 
Act of 1990 and related legislation, which created a structure for more 
businesslike management and reporting of the government’s finances, and 
the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and the Paperwork Reduction Acts, which 
required agencies to take an orderly, planned approach to their 
information technology needs. 

[2] The President’s Management Agenda, by focusing on 14 targeted 
areas—5 governmentwide goals and 9 program initiatives—seeks to improve 
the management and performance of the federal government. 

[3] Office of Management and Budget, Program Performance Assessments 
for the FY2004 Budget, M-02-10 (Washington, D.C.: July 16, 2002). 

[4] U.S. General Accounting Office, Performance Budgeting: Initial 
Experiences under the Results Act in Linking Plans With Budgets, 
GAO/AIMD/GGD-99-67 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 12, 1999); Performance 
Budgeting: Fiscal Year 2000 Progress in Linking Plans with Budgets, 
GAO/AIMD-99-239R (Washington, D.C.: July 30, 1999); and Managing for 
Results: Agency Progress in Linking Performance Plans With Budgets and 
Financial Statements, GAO-02-236 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 4, 2002). 

[5] U.S. General Accounting Office, Results-Oriented Budget Practices 
in Federal Agencies, GAO-01-1084SP (Washington, D.C.: August 2001). 

[6] NSIR was created after we conducted our fieldwork for this study. 

[7] The Nuclear Waste Fund supports NRC’s High Level Waste Program, 
which currently consists of the Yucca Mountain project. The High Level 
Waste Program was authorized under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as 
amended, and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. This legislation states 
requirements for storage, transportation, and disposal of high-level 
nuclear waste, and prescribes the respective roles of NRC, the 
Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency in the 
High Level Waste Program. 

[8] U.S. General Accounting Office, Nuclear Regulation: Strategy Needed 
to Regulate Safety Using Information on Risk, GAO/RCED-99-95 
(Washington, D.C.: Mar. 19, 1999). 

[9] The Executive Council consisted of the EDO, the Chief Information 
Officer, and the CFO. The Executive Council was abolished without 
replacement in 2000. 

[10] For example, this study did not observe or evaluate recently 
reported safety problems in the Davis-Besse power plant. 

[11] For example, NRC reviewed its strategic plan after the terrorist 
attacks of September 11 but determined that the plan did not need to 
change at that time. 

[12] NRC’s strategic arenas are Nuclear Reactor Safety, Nuclear 
Materials Safety, Nuclear Waste Safety, Management and Support, 
International Nuclear Safety Support, and the Office of the Inspector 

[13] NRC defines planned accomplishments as work activities that 
implement a strategy in the strategic plan. A group of related work 
activities is a program. 

[14] Performance goals contribute to achieving strategic goals and 

[15] According to an NRC official, NRC’s authorizing statutes provide 
NRC with flexibility on which type of work activities it can perform to 
accomplish its mission. This official stated that the agency is 
required to license nuclear plants and ensure they are operated safely, 
but that NRC is not specifically required to inspect these plants. 

[16] Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to a number of processes, 
such as mediation and facilitated dialogues, used to assist parties in 
resolving disputes and potential conflicts. 

[17] The OCFO is responsible for monitoring overall budget execution. 
As part of this responsibility, the OCFO prepares financial plans with 
each office to monitor resource utilization. In addition, offices 
report staff years and contract dollars used to the Office of Executive 
Director for Operations as part of its operating plan. 

[18] GAO-01-1084SP. 

[19] As mentioned previously, we did not evaluate the completeness or 
accuracy of NRC performance goals and measures or the effectiveness of 
NRC rule making, licensing, inspection, and oversight programs. 

[20] “Decommissioning” is the process of shutting down and dismantling 
a nuclear power plant so the plant site can be safely reused for other 

[21] The performance measure of no statistically significant adverse 
industry trends in safety performance is one of several measures under 
NRC’s performance goal of maintaining safety. Another measure, is 
having no more than one event per year identified as a significant 
precursor of a nuclear accident. 

[22] NRC eventually received $36 million in fiscal year 2002 emergency 
supplemental funds for new security-related activities. 

[23] The new office combines NMSS responsibilities for protection of 
fuel cycle facilities and materials with NRR responsibilities for 
nuclear power plants and other facilities. Resources for the 
consolidated functions, including about 90 staff members, were 
transferred from existing NRC offices. 

[24] RES funds approximately 190 separate activities, which serve the 
immediate needs of other offices. It also funds long-term research. 

[25] GAO-02-236. 

[26] NRC’s budget guidance includes a detailed crosswalk of offices and 
programs to specific planned activities. 

[27] NRC strategic goals represent the agency’s fundamental mission and 
the overall outcome NRC wants to achieve. Performance goals are the key 
contributors to achieving the strategic goals. 

[28] An agreement state is one that NRC has authorized to regulate 
certain radioactive materials. 

[29] A previous GAO report identified many federal agencies that shared 
responsibilities with other entities for achieving their objectives. 
U.S. General Accounting Office, Managing for Results: Measuring Program 
Results That Are Under Limited Federal Control, GAO/GGD-99-16 
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 11, 1998). 

[30] According to NRC officials, although mission support offices are 
not required to report on strategic performance goals in the 
Performance and Accountability Report, some information on mission 
support outputs is included in the Budget Estimates and Performance 

[31] GAO-01-1084SP. 

[32] NRC experienced delays in developing and implementing its cost 
accounting system because of problems it encountered with the 
contractor initially selected to develop the core system. NRC 
contracted with a new vendor and purchased a software package to 
develop the core system. In our January 2001 report on NRC major 
management challenges, we said NRC’s staff expected to have manager’s 
time and labor charges for each strategic arena available by April 

[33] GAO-01-1084SP. 

[34] U.S. General Accounting Office, Performance Budgeting: 
Opportunities and Challenges, GAO-02-1106T (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 19, 

[End of section] 

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