Status of the Department of Energy's Implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 as of December 31, 1984

RCED-85-65: Published: Jan 31, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act for the quarter ending December 31, 1984. The report discussed DOE progress in meeting legislative deadlines, the status of the Nuclear Waste Fund, program management, information system development, and federal relations with the states and tribes.

GAO found that delays have occurred in meeting key requirements of the act. DOE issued its final guidelines for choosing disposal repository sites 17 months after the deadline. Furthermore, environmental assessments of the sites and the mission plan have yet to be completed. However, during the quarter, DOE reviewed a draft report of recommendations for alternative management approaches, reviewed comments on a report dealing with high-level defense wastes, issued a document on transportation options, received comments on a document for selecting a site for the second repository, and worked on a proposal for a monitored retrievable storage system. During the quarter: (1) four lawsuits were filed questioning the site selection process; (2) DOE continued to improve its financial reporting system; (3) DOE made efforts to improve communication with affected states and Indian tribes; and (4) about $90.4 million was paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund from user fees, but no one-time user fees were paid. DOE spent $46.1 million for various program activities during the quarter. About 70 percent of these costs were for repository development activities, and most Nuclear Waste Fund obligations were made to contractors. As of December 31, 1984, DOE had unpaid obligations of about $213.4 million and a cash balance of about $242.8 million. In addition, it owed the Treasury about $258.4 million plus interest for the appropriations it received.

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