Results Act:

Observations on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Draft Strategic Plan

RCED-97-206R: Published: Jul 31, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the draft strategic plan submitted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), as required by the Government Performance and Results Act.

GAO noted that: (1) to its credit, NRC has been actively pursuing the objectives of the Results Act since 1995, when it launched its own strategic planning initiative; (2) however, NRC's draft plan does not provide the Congress with complete information for its consultation with NRC; (3) the draft plan contains two of the six required elements of the Results Act--the mission and the goals and objectives; (4) while NRC's draft plan meets some of the requirements for three others, it does not describe: (a) the resources, such as staff skills and experiences, capital, and information, that will be needed to execute the plan's strategies; (b) how key external factors could affect the achievement of its goals; and (c) its schedule for future program evaluations; (5) NRC has not included in its draft plan the relationship between the long-term goals and objectives and its annual performance goals; (6) the draft plan reflects NRC's major legislative requirements but does not expressly link its mission, goals and objectives, and strategies with NRC's relevant major statutory responsibilities; (7) although NRC shared its draft and is consulting with other agencies, the current draft plan does not fully discuss some programs and activities that are crosscutting, or similar to those of other federal agencies; (8) the draft plan would benefit by a more thorough discussion of these issues; (9) GAO's previous work has highlighted major management challenges that NRC needs to address more completely in its draft plan; (10) the draft plan does not provide a thorough discussion of these issues; (11) similarly, the draft plan does not discuss in sufficient detail the consequences of competition and economic uncertainties in the electric utility industry with respect to decommissioning issues; (12) GAO has reported that NRC's cost estimates for decommissioning are not realistic, which could mean future problems for those licensees not having sufficient funds to properly close their facilities; (13) while there are indications that some NRC systems may not provide reliable information for measuring results, NRC is continuing its efforts to improve integration of performance measures, cost information, and financial reporting; and (14) NRC's Office of the Inspector General plans to do more work to determine if these systems can provide reliable information.

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