NRC's Use of Consultants, Contractors, and the National Laboratories

EMD-79-37: Published: Mar 7, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1979.

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A study examined the procedures used by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for acquiring and using assistance and expertise from outside consultants, and the use by NRC of the Department of Energy's (DOE) laboratories. NRC spends more than one-half of its budget for the acquisition of outside goods and services. About 86 percent of the expenditures are for research and technical assistance acquired from the NRC laboratories, and the remaining expenditures are generally for goods and services obtained from contractors and for work performed by consultants.

The review of these practices disclosed a number of areas of concern. Controls over work placements with the DOE laboratories were not adequate for ensuring that NRC acquires the best goods and services at the most reasonable costs. Justifications for awarding certain contracts on a noncompetitive basis were inadequate, and certain aspects of contract administration by NRC, such as contract monitoring and timely closeouts of completed contracts, appeared weak. Justifications for hiring consultants were incomplete, and controls over payments for their services were not adequate.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman of NRC should require the various NRC program offices to justify placements by including the reasons and circumstances surrounding the placement. If other entities have the capability for performing independent work, the justification should contain a comparison showing the related cost impact. Each justification should be reviewed by the NRC Division of Contracts. The NRC should seek greater competition in contract awards for solicited proposals and ensure that awards resulting from unsolicited proposals are justified in accordance with applicable Federal criteria. The Division of Contracts' actions should be monitored to improve monitoring and to alleviate the contract closeout backlog. Steps should be taken to ensure that consultant appointments are justified and the corresponding work descriptions are specific. Controls over payments for consultants' services should be tightened.

    Agency Affected:


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