Environmental Problems at the Department of Energy's Nuclear Weapons Complex

T-RCED-89-12: Published: Feb 24, 1989. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1989.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the environmental issues facing the Department of Energy (DOE) in cleaning up its nuclear weapons complex. GAO found that: (1) DOE needed to clean up existing contamination in soil and groundwater and bring its facilities' operations into full compliance with environmental laws; (2) the estimated costs for cleaning up existing contamination would total between $35 billion and $65 billion; (3) DOE would need new technologies and specialized equipment and techniques to clean up some sites and protect workers involved in the cleanup; (4) some areas could be irreversibly contaminated and might require long-term institutional care; and (5) to bring DOE into full compliance would cost an additional $3 billion to $9 billion. In addition, GAO found that: (1) although a recent DOE modernization plan called for additional spending of $81 billion over the next 21 years, it did not have a detailed plan for resolving environmental problems; (2) recently proposed legislation to establish a national commission on DOE environmental remediation activities could assist DOE in developing long-range plans; (3) $1.1 billion of the $9.4-billion DOE budget request was to correct environmental problems and represented a 57-percent increase over 1989 funding levels; and (4) DOE was still studying the extent of contamination. GAO believes that establishment of a national commission on DOE environmental remediation activities would help clarify cleanup issues and help form a comprehensive approach to addressing DOE environmental problems.

Nov 19, 2020

Oct 29, 2020

Oct 15, 2020

Jul 24, 2020

Jun 24, 2020

Jun 9, 2020

May 13, 2020

May 12, 2020

Apr 29, 2020

  • energy icon, source: Art Explosion

    Priority Open Recommendations:

    Department of Energy
    GAO-20-285PR: Published: Apr 22, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2020.

Apr 17, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here