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Highlights

GAO determined whether the Department of Energy (DOE) needs to do more to evaluate the potential impact of extended nuclear fuel burnup under its program for accepting spent commercial nuclear fuel under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. The Secretary of Energy should complete a full evaluation of the potential to extend fuel burnup and the effects on DOE efforts to subsequently manage the higher burnup fuel by considering the merits of continued government funding of the DOE extended fuel burnup program in terms of: (1) the potential budgetary costs; (2) the potential benefits and beneficiaries; and (3) the likelihood that the nuclear industry would continue extending fuel burnup.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Energy 2. The Secretary of Energy should complete a full evaluation of the potential to extend fuel burnup and the effects on DOE efforts to subsequently manage the higher burnup fuel by quantifying, to the extent possible, the effect of increases in fuel burnup on its spent fuel acceptance schedule, and clearly identify the potential impact on its requirements for providing the necessary facilities and services to carry out the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
Closed - Implemented
The DOE reference-case schedule for acceptance of spent nuclear fule does not consider reduction in spent fule inventories from gradual implementation by utilities of extended burnup fule. GAO will review in future audits of the program the DOE stated intent to modify its planning base systems designs to accomodate extended burnup fuel.
Department of Energy 3. The Secretary of Energy should report the results of this evaluation to cognizant congressional committees: (1) for their consideration of the DOE Mission Plan for carrying out the Nuclear Waste Policy Act; and (2) as another factor for their fiscal year 1985 budget deliberations on whether to continue funding for the DOE extended burnup program.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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