The Future of DOE's Uranium Enrichment Program

T-RCED-88-59A: Published: Aug 10, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1988.

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GAO discussed legislative proposals for restructuring the Department of Energy's (DOE) Uranium Enrichment Program. GAO noted that the program's many problems included: (1) over $9 billion in unrecovered costs; and (2) DOE failure to collect any money for decommissioning costs. GAO also noted that the proposals would: (1) restructure the program as a government corporation to allow it to operate in a more businesslike manner; (2) require the corporation to repay only $364 million in incurred costs; (3) use most of the repayment to clean up uranium mill tailings or purchase uranium ore; (4) require the corporation to establish a fund to decommission only two of three enrichment plants; (5) not transfer one of the facilities to the new corporation; and (6) establish a fund to clean up uranium mine sites by imposing utility fees based on facilities' use of foreign ore and providing for the purchase of domestic ore. GAO believes that legislative proposals to restructure the program should: (1) require a higher-cost repayment; (2) require DOE to recover the costs of decommissioning all of its enrichment plants; and (3) consider the already sizable stockpile of uranium DOE owns.

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