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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) regulation of its program for transporting high-level radioactive materials.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. In accordance with the provisions of DOE Order 5480.3, the Secretary of Energy should promptly develop written guidance for addressing and resolving safety-related concerns raised about the packages used to ship nonweapons, high-level radioactive materials. This guidance should include provisions for approving the continued use of these packages by an organization that does not manage their use.
Closed - Implemented
The DOE Central Certifying Organization provided written guidance in accordance with this recommendation. This included decertifying 20 containers that no longer met safety criteria.
Department of Energy 2. The Secretary of Energy should: (1) promptly conduct an independent review of all available documentation to ensure that package designs approved for transporting nuclear explosives, nuclear components, and special assemblies meet all applicable safety regulations; and (2) consolidate certification responsibilities for these packages with the centralized package certification program at DOE headquarters.
Closed - Implemented
DOE is reviewing all package documentation and implementing procedures to ensure proper review of package designs. DOE does not plan to transfer weapons package certification authority to headquarters. To remove the conflict of having Albuquerque responsible for production and safety, DOE is transferring certification authority to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Applications.

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