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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Energy

GAO-23-106459 Published: May 25, 2023. Publicly Released: Jun 01, 2023.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations.

This letter to the U.S. Department of Energy outlines 30 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, the U.S. electricity grid faces risks from climate change, and we recommended that DOE implement a department-wide strategy to improve grid resilience.

DOE implemented 6 recommendations we identified as a priority last year.

We regularly update priority recommendations here.

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What GAO Found

In June 2022, GAO identified 26 priority recommendations for the Department of Energy (DOE). Since then, DOE has implemented six of those recommendations by, among other things, completing its analysis of options for handling excess space at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. GAO de-prioritized one recommendation, and it remains open.

In May 2023, GAO identified nine additional priority recommendations for DOE, bringing the total number to 30. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving project, program, and portfolio management;
  • improving contract management;
  • enhancing energy reliability, security, and resilience;
  • addressing nuclear modernization challenges;
  • addressing DOE's environmental and disposal liability;
  • addressing insider threats and cybersecurity; and
  • addressing worker protections.

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 that 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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