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In May 2006, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed transferring appropriations from some DOE accounts to begin a new loan guarantee program (LGP) authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 05).
Spent nuclear fuel--the used fuel periodically removed from reactors in nuclear power plants--is too inefficient to power a nuclear reaction, but is intensely radioactive and continues to generate heat for thousands of years.
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has experienced significant financial problems in recent years. BPA's cash reserves at the end of fiscal year 2002 had fallen to $188 million, and BPA estimated in February 2003 that it had a 74 percent chance of missing its Treasury debt payment that year.
A quality assurance program is required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to ensure that the Department of Energy (DOE) can safely construct and operate a high-level radioactive waste repository. DOE is currently preparing an application to NRC for authorization to construct the repository.
Compliance agreements between the Department of Energy (DOE) and its regulators specify cleanup activities and milestones that DOE has agreed to achieve. The 70 compliance agreements at DOE sites vary, but can be divided into three main types.