Nuclear Science:

DOE Should Provide More Control in Its Accelerator Selection Process

RCED-86-108: Published: Apr 4, 1986. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 1986.

Additional Materials:


Keith O. Fultz
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) review and selection process for approving the Southeastern Universities Research Association's proposal to plan, manage, and operate a continuous electron beam accelerator facility (CEBAF).

GAO found that DOE used unsolicited proposals in selecting the facility's design, which resulted in DOE: (1) approving a contractor that had no technical expertise to plan, manage, and operate CEBAF; (2) selecting a CEBAF design that had several technical uncertainties; and (3) not identifying and evaluating technologies that were better suited for CEBAF and available at the time of the original design selection. GAO also found that, while DOE has corrected the problems associated with using unsolicited proposals, including establishing a CEBAF project office with key personnel with experience in constructing, managing, and operating accelerators, it needs to use other procurement methods for future accelerators.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOE believes its procurement methods are sound, therefore, it disagreed with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Division of Nuclear Physics to explore other procurement approaches in its future accelerator acquisitions, with a view towards ensuring that DOE: (1) considers all available relevant technologies; and (2) retains sufficient flexibility and control over all aspects of such acquisitions, before and after approval.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy


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