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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Energy

GAO-22-105599 Published: Jun 27, 2022. Publicly Released: Jul 05, 2022.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 26 priority open recommendations for the Department of Energy as of June 2022. For example, we recommended that DOE should continue efforts to engage the public and finalize its process for identifying sites to store the nation's spent nuclear fuel.

Since our previous letter in June 2021, DOE implemented 6 of our priority recommendations.

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What GAO Found

In June 2021, GAO identified 25 priority recommendations for the Department of Energy (DOE). Since then, DOE has implemented six of those recommendations by, among other things, issuing a policy on program management that established expectations for program management and assigned competencies for program managers. GAO de-prioritized one recommendation, and it remains open.

In June 2022, GAO identified eight additional priority recommendations for DOE, bringing the total number to 26. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improve project, program, and portfolio management.
  • improve contract management.
  • planning for the future of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
  • nuclear modernization challenges.
  • address DOE’s environmental and disposal liability.
  • improving cybersecurity.
  • worker protections.
  • electricity grid resilience.

DOE’s continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Mark Gaffigan at (202) 512-3841 or


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