Recommendations Database

GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed. GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. Below you can search only priority recommendations, or search all recommendations.

Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.

As of December 7, 2021, there are 4642 open recommendations, of which 482 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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1 - 5 of 5 Recommendations
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Combating Nuclear Terrorism: NRC Needs to Take Additional Actions to Ensure the Security of High-Risk Radioactive Material

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Chairman of NRC should direct NRC staff to consider socioeconomic consequences and fatalities from evacuations in the criteria for determining what security measures should be required for radioactive materials that could be used in an RDD. (Recommendation 1)
Open

As of May 2021, NRC continues to disagree with this recommendation, and NRC did not provide us with documentation of any actions it plans to take to implement this recommendation. NRC maintains that the current regulatory requirements provide for the safe and secure use of all radioactive materials, regardless of category. We disagree with NRC's assessment. We continue to believe that by implementing our recommendation NRC would have better assurance that it was considering more likely and more significant consequences of an RDD when establishing its security requirements for this material. We

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Chairman of NRC should require additional security measures for high-risk quantities of certain category 3 radioactive material, and assess whether other category 3 materials should also be safeguarded with additional security measures. (Recommendation 2)
Open

As of May 2021, NRC continues to neither explicitly agree nor disagree with this recommendation, but stated that it would consider our recommendation as part of a working group the agency has established. The working group provided a staff analysis on these issues to the Commission in August 2017, but NRC has not updated this analysis taking into account the new information we provided in our April 2019 report. We continue to believe that implementing our recommendation would provide greater assurance that NRC's requirements are sufficient to help ensure all high-risk radioactive material are

Nuclear Security: NRC Has Enhanced the Controls of Dangerous Radioactive Materials, but Vulnerabilities Remain

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
Because some quantities of radioactive materials are potentially dangerous to human health if not properly handled, NRC should take action to better track and secure these materials and verify the legitimacy of the licenses for those who seek to possess them. Specifically, the NRC should take the steps needed to include category 3 sources in the National Source Tracking System and add agreement state category 3 licenses to the Web-based Licensing System as quickly as reasonably possible.
Open

In October 2016, NRC issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) "Proposed Staff Re-Evaluation of Category 3 Source Accountability," (SRM-COMJMB-16-0001) and directed NRC staff to take specific actions to evaluate whether it is necessary to revise NRC regulations or processes governing source protection and accountability for category 3 sources. Among other things, this re-evaluation was expected to consider GAO's recommendations. In August 2017, NRC staff completed its analysis and provided recommendations to the NRC Commissioners. (Most of this analysis is available on NRC's website.) In

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
Because some quantities of radioactive materials are potentially dangerous to human health if not properly handled, NRC should take action to better track and secure these materials and verify the legitimacy of the licenses for those who seek to possess them. Specifically, the NRC should at least until such time that category 3 licenses can be verified using the License Verification System, require that transferors of category 3 quantities of radioactive materials confirm the validity of a would-be purchaser's radioactive materials license with the appropriate regulatory authority before transferring any category 3 quantities of licensed materials.
Open

In October 2016, NRC issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) "Proposed Staff Re-Evaluation of Category 3 Source Accountability," (SRM-COMJMB-16-0001) and directed NRC staff to take specific actions to evaluate whether it is necessary to revise NRC regulations or processes governing source protection and accountability for category 3 sources. Among other things, this re-evaluation was expected to consider GAO's recommendations. In August 2017, NRC staff completed its analysis and provided recommendations to the NRC Commissioners. (Most of this analysis is available on NRC's website.) In

Nuclear Regulatory Commission: NRC Needs to Improve Its Cost Estimates by Incorporating More Best Practices

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To improve the reliability of its cost estimates, as NRC revises its cost estimating procedures, the NRC Chairman should ensure that the agency aligns the procedures with relevant cost estimating best practices identified in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide and ensure that future cost estimates are prepared in accordance with relevant cost estimating best practices.
Open

In August 2019, NRC staff reported that the Commission had directed them to revise the guidance and resubmit it to the Commission by January 2020. In February 2020, the NRC staff submitted the revised guidance to the Commission. NRC staff said that following Commission review and approval, they will publish the guidance. We will review the cost-benefit guidance when it is released and determine if it responds to this recommendation.

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For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.