Nuclear Waste:

Status of DOE's Nuclear Waste Site Characterization Activities

RCED-87-103FS: Published: Mar 20, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the Department of Energy's (DOE) planned site characterization activities under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.

GAO found that: (1) in January 1987, DOE extended some site characterization milestones by 5 years; (2) each site had unique technical problems that DOE needed to resolve, including the potential for radioactive groundwater contamination, and unforeseen construction problems; (3) existing cost estimates were very tentative because site characterization costs were greatly affected by the amount of time needed to complete the phase; and (4) the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management developed a comprehensive quality assurance program as a viable part of its construction license application.

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