Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of recommendations GAO made regarding DOE assessments of whether nuclear power plant operation fees cover the costs of the civilian nuclear waste disposal program.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Congress should amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to require the Secretary of Energy to automatically adjust the nuclear waste disposal fee that utilities pay to the Nuclear Waste Fund on the basis of the annual rate of inflation.||The House-passed version of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 would have required DOE to automatically adjust the disposal fee on the basis of the annual rate of inflation, however, this provision was not retained in the final legislation agreed to and passed by both houses of Congress.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Energy||1. To help ensure that DOE can dispose of its highly radioactive waste in accordance with its current schedule, the Secretary of Energy, in cooperation with the Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), should: (1) develop a payment plan to pay DOE debt to the Nuclear Waste Fund by 2015 or sooner; and (2) request annual appropriations from Congress in accordance with such a plan.|
|Department of Energy||2. The Secretary of Energy should ensure that the financial statements of the Nuclear Waste Fund fully disclose the circumstances surrounding any uncertainties regarding the collectibility of the one-time fees owed by utilities, the potential impact on the fund resulting from any receivables that may be uncollectible, and any actions that DOE plans to take to deal with this matter.|