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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requested a decision regarding whether it had the authority to mitigate civil penalties levied against licensees who violate NRC requirements. GAO held that: (1) NRC lacked authority to permit licensees who violated NRC requirements to fund nuclear safety research projects in lieu of paying monetary civil penalties; and (2) if NRC believed it needed such authority, it should submit a legislative proposal to Congress either to amend legislation or increase its nuclear safety research project appropriation.

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