Status of DOE Implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 as of September 30, 1984

RCED-85-42: Published: Oct 19, 1984. Publicly Released: Oct 19, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on: (1) the progress which the Department of Energy (DOE) is making in meeting deadlines legislated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act; (2) the status of the Nuclear Waste Fund; and (3) DOE management reorganization, information system development, and personnel initiatives.

The act established several program requirements and set deadlines for DOE to develop and construct waste disposal repositories. During the last quarter of fiscal year (FY) 1984, DOE focused on: (1) developing a mission plan to be issued in early 1985; (2) preparing final guidelines for use in evaluation of potential repository sites to be issued in November 1984; and (3) completing environmental assessments for the sites for release in December 1984. While DOE made progress toward accomplishing each of these requirements, in each case the initial milestone was missed to allow for full participation by states, Indian tribes, and the public. In July 1984, DOE issued an annual report on the adequacy of user fees established under the act. In August 1984, DOE distributed a draft report recommending that commercial and defense waste be deposited in a single repository to reduce the costs of nuclear waste disposal. By January 1985, DOE expects to issue a report on alternative approaches to managing the waste program. During the last quarter of FY 1984, DOE reorganized the Waste Office to centralize policy development, initiated an internal program management system to include an automated information system, issued guidelines to standardize its state assistance program, awarded a contract for the audit of the Nuclear Waste Fund, and hired additional staff. As of September 30. 1984, DOE had executed contracts with each of the anticipated users of waste disposal and, while none of the one-time fees had been paid, about $73.6 million was paid because of a 1-mill fee.

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