Department of Energy:

Major System Acquisitions From 1980 Through 1996

RCED-97-85R: Published: Mar 4, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided a listing of the major systems acquisitions (MSA) that were conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) between 1980 and 1996.

GAO noted that: (1) DOE has spent tens of billions of dollars on projects over the past decade and a half, many of which experienced significant cost overruns and delays, and some have never been completed; (2) these activities have involved large-scale first-of-a-kind projects requiring substantial construction and other expenses; (3) these activities have included developing and producing nuclear weapons, operating nuclear reactors, uranium enrichment plants, and plutonium production plants, performing research and development on both military and civilian uses of nuclear energy, promoting and funding nuclear and other sciences, fostering energy conservation and efficiency, managing federal petroleum reserves, and, more recently, cleaning up environmental contamination resulting from the Department's past operations; (4) from 1980 through 1996, DOE conducted 80 projects that it designated as MSAs, and it has completed 15 of these projects; (5) most of them were finished behind schedule and with cost overruns; (6) 31 other projects were terminated prior to completion, after expenditures of over $10 billion; (7) the remaining 34 projects are ongoing; and (8) cost overruns and "schedule slippage" have occurred and continue to occur on many of the ongoing projects.

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