The U.S. Nuclear Materials Information System Can Improve Service to Its User Agencies

NSIAD-85-28: Published: Jan 14, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 1985.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) computerized transaction file on domestic and international nuclear materials, known as the Nuclear Materials Management and Safeguards System (NMMSS).

GAO noted that some NMMSS users do not believe that its data is reasonably accurate and adequate for their purposes. Some of these problems have been recognized and efforts have been made to improve the system, especially the accuracy of data on international transactions. NMMSS users have identified the following improvement opportunities which would enable the system to better serve them: (1) direct access to licensee data; (2) automated data input equipment to improve source data accuracy; and (3) a database management system to improve NMMSS efficiency and timeliness and access for users.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The NMMSS 5-year plan, which includes NMMSS long-range program and ADP plans, was finalized in late March 1986.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should develop a NMMSS long-range management plan which allows for top management involvement by the principal NMMSS users and principal recipients of NMMSS-generated data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An interagency steering group has been established, chaired by DOE. It met for its first meeting on June 18, 1985, and discussed a number of policy-related issues and formulated recommendations for DOE and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) review. The next meeting is scheduled for January 1986.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should establish an interagency steering committee which would be responsible for seeing that the functional, technical, and financial aspects of NMMSS are included in the long-range management plan.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The NMMSS operating contractor completed the database management system project during the quarter ending September 30, 1985. Completion was made using the existing, obsolete computer. When the new computer becomes operational, some additional work may be required.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should complete the database management system project.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A new NMMSS Program Management Charter was signed by DOE/OSS and the Oak Ridge Operations office in late August 1985. The Charter reflects the roles of DOE/OSS, NRC, and the Operations office in managing NMMSS.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should evaluate the current organizational responsibilities for NMMSS and implement the specific changes needed to improve planning and operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE stated that actions taken under pervious recommendations address this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should review, as part of the planning process and with the assistance of other principal users, the various NMMSS operational improvements that are underway or which have been identified in previous DOE-sponsored studies, and implement those found to be cost-effective. This review should consider the improvements from an overall system viewpoint, rather than on an individual basis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy


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