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Priority Open Recommendations: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

GAO-23-106462 Published: May 10, 2023. Publicly Released: May 17, 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 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) outlines 8 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, NRC should add extra security features—such as multifactor authentication—to its licensing process for possessing radioactive material. This would make it harder to alter or forge licenses.

NRC didn't implement any recommendations that 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 5 priority recommendations for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Since then, NRC has not implemented any of the 5 open priority recommendations we identified in our June 2022 letter. Five remain on our list of priority open recommendations.

In March 2023, GAO identified 3 additional priority recommendations for NRC, bringing the total number to 8. These recommendations involve the following areas: 

  • addressing the security of radiological sources;
  • improving the reliability of cost estimates and
  • ensuring the cybersecurity of the nation.

NRC'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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