Nuclear Security:

Safeguards and Security Planning at DOE Facilities Incomplete

RCED-93-14: Published: Oct 30, 1992. Publicly Released: Jan 29, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Department of Energy's (DOE) planning process for safeguards and security at numerous sensitive facilities and sites, focusing on: (1) the extent to which DOE has completed safeguards and security plans for sensitive facilities; (2) the extent to which DOE has completed such plans for the areas, or sites, surrounding these facilities; and (3) recently proposed modifications to the DOE safeguards and security planning process.

GAO found that: (1) as of September 1992, DOE had not completed safeguards and security plans for 15 of its 27 sensitive facilities; (2) DOE may not complete many of the unfinished sensitive facility plans for some time because field offices have not completed vulnerability assessments for 8 of the 15 facilities; (3) reasons cited for slow progress in completing plans include lack of field office and headquarters staff to adequately support the planning effort and evolving program guidance throughout the planning process; (4) more than three-fourths of the safeguards and security plans for the sites surrounding the sensitive facilities were not complete as of September 1992; and (5) modifications to streamline and improve the DOE safeguards and security planning process include combining sensitive facility and site plans into one overall summary document, issuing a guide to facilitate the preparation of the document, and reorganizing the program offices to better monitor field offices' compliance with safeguards and security requirements.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As of June 30, 1994, 14 of 27 site plans had been reviewed and approved by DOE headquarters. Eight other plans were under review at headquarters, and the remaining five were in various stages of development by DOE field offices. As of March 30, 1995, all of the site plans required by DOE have been completed and approved.

    Recommendation: To ensure that safeguards and security planning is completed in a timely fashion, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE program offices to complete the facility plans on a priority basis. This may necessitate setting milestones and adjusting staffing levels at headquarters and in the field and delaying starting the new planning process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy


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