The Future of DOE's Uranium Enrichment Program

T-RCED-87-15A: Published: Apr 8, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 1987.

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GAO discussed the future of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Uranium Enrichment Program, specifically: (1) its financial difficulties arising from growing foreign competition; (2) increases in the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) charges for unused electricity; and (3) the large debt it owes to the Treasury. Although DOE sent Congress a proposal to restructure the program as a federally chartered corporation, it did not sufficiently address several major issues, including: (1) the repayment of its outstanding debt to the Treasury; (2) development of the next generation of uranium enrichment technology; (3) responsibility for the multi-billion dollar TVA demand charges; (4) administration of the enriched uranium needed for defense; (5) licensing and regulatory requirements; and (6) indemnification authority to cover liability for accidents. GAO believes that Congress should: (1) redefine the program's goals and objectives within the current business environment; (2) examine alternatives for full-cost recovery pricing; (3) determine the repayment amount of the debt to the Treasury; and (4) continue congressional oversight through mechanisms such as annual reports if it enacts legislation to support the DOE proposal.

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