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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) tank farm maintenance program at its Hanford site, focusing on: (1) DOE progress in strengthening the maintenance program; and (2) opportunities for further improvement.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. The Secretary of Energy should direct the Manager of the Richland Field Office to streamline the processes for approving corrective maintenance plans and closing out completed maintenance work by adopting procedures used at other DOE sites and already tested in experiments at Hanford.
Closed - Implemented
DOE is evaluating its tank farms in comparison with other facilities. Hanford reports that, as a result of its recent efforts, its maintenance process now has timeframes equivalent to other sites.
Department of Energy 2. The Secretary of Energy should direct the Manager of the Richland Field Office to develop benchmarks and, where appropriate, engineered performance standards for tank farm maintenance and more complete data on the time required for, and the cost of, conducting each maintenance project. DOE should then use this information to adjust the benchmarks and standards and to identify additional opportunities to improve tank farm maintenance.
Closed - Implemented
DOE has developed and adopted standards consistent with the recommendations. DOE now can better estimate the time required to complete maintenance actions. The time performance data can be used to estimate costs but has not been used for this purpose.

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