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Open Recommendations

Nuclear Energy Projects: DOE Should Institutionalize Oversight Plans for Demonstrations of New Reactor Types [Reissued with revisions on Sept. 15, 2022]

GAO-22-105394
Sep 15, 2022
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy The Secretary of Energy should ensure that the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy and the Director of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations coordinate and institutionalize via documentation their processes for providing oversight for large nuclear energy demonstration projects, including the use of external independent reviews, steps for addressing any risks identified, and criteria for which projects should use these processes. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Nuclear Waste Cleanup: DOE's Efforts to Manage Depleted Uranium Would Benefit from Clearer Legal Authorities

GAO-22-105471
Jul 27, 2022
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Congress Congress should consider enacting legislation to clarify DOE's authority to sell depleted uranium, including any conditions connected to such sales. (Matter for Consideration 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Financial Management: DOE and NNSA Have Opportunities to Improve Management of Carryover Balances

GAO-22-104541
Jul 25, 2022
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7 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy The DOE Chief Financial Officer should document DOE's and NNSA's percentage target thresholds to more clearly describe how the thresholds should be applied to uncosted balances and better define the purpose of the percentage targets to ensure that EM, NNSA, and other departmental elements apply the thresholds consistently. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Energy The DOE Chief Financial Officer, with input from other departmental elements, should either document the basis of support for the 40 percent target threshold that DOE uses to identify and assess uncosted carryover balances in EM and NNSA programs related to the DOE-wide costing category for grants and cooperative agreements or revise the threshold, and then document the methodology and analysis supporting the department's decisions. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
National Nuclear Security Administration The NNSA Associate Administrator for Management and Budget, with input from pertinent NNSA program offices, should either document the basis of support for the 45 percent threshold that NNSA uses to identify and assess uncosted carryover balances related to the NNSA-specific costing category for weapon modernization programs or revise the threshold, and document the methodology and analysis supporting the agency's decisions. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Energy The DOE Chief Financial Officer, with input from other departmental elements, should periodically reassess the four target thresholds that DOE uses to identify and assess uncosted carryover balances in EM and NNSA programs to ensure that they reflect the current budgetary environment, including with respect to any assumptions made about the duration of continuing resolutions, and either revalidate or revise the thresholds. (Recommendation 4)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
National Nuclear Security Administration The NNSA Associate Administrator for Management and Budget, with input from relevant NNSA program offices, should periodically reassess the target threshold that NNSA uses to identify and assess uncosted carryover balances related to its weapon modernization programs to ensure that it reflects the current budgetary environment, including with respect to any assumptions made about the duration of continuing resolutions, and either revalidate or revise the threshold. (Recommendation 5)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Energy The DOE Chief Financial Officer should develop guidance that clearly documents the process that DOE and NNSA staff should use when assessing excess uncosted balances and the sufficiency of their justifications, including describing how to make and document determinations about the sufficiency of the justifications. (Recommendation 6)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Hanford Cleanup: DOE Has Opportunities to Better Ensure Effective Startup and Sustained Low-Activity Waste Operations

GAO-22-104772
Jun 14, 2022
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4 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Environmental Management The Assistant Secretary of EM should ensure that schedule estimates for the DFLAW program are developed and updated in accordance with GAO best practices. (Recommendation 1)
Open
In a June 2022 letter, signed by the Senior Advisor for the Office of Environmental Management that provided agency comments on our draft report, DOE stated that it concurs with this recommendation. DOE further stated that it had already implemented actions to increase oversight and improve execution of the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) project schedule and will continue these actions in alignment with this recommendation. We will continue to monitor DOE's progress to address this recommendation.
Office of Environmental Management The Assistant Secretary of EM should ensure that cost estimates for the DFLAW program are developed and updated in accordance with GAO best practices. (Recommendation 2)
Open
In a June 2022 letter, signed by the Senior Advisor for the Office of Environmental Management that provided agency comments on our draft report, DOE stated that it concurred with this recommendation. DOE also stated that it had implemented actions to increase oversight and improve execution of the DFLAW project cost estimates and will continue these actions in alignment with the recommendation. We will continue to monitor DOE's progress to address this recommendation.
Office of Environmental Management The Assistant Secretary of EM should ensure that the review of the contractor's EVM system for DFLAW facilities is completed to verify compliance with DOE requirements. (Recommendation 3)
Open
In a June 2022 letter, signed by the Senior Advisor for the Office of Environmental Management that provided agency comments on our draft report, DOE stated that it concurred with this recommendation. It also outlined actions that have been taken and are planned to ensure the review of the contractor's Earned Value Management system for DFLAW facilities is completed to ensure compliance with DOE requirements. We will continue to monitor DOE's progress to address this recommendation.
Office of Environmental Management The Assistant Secretary of EM should ensure that existing challenges and problems identified in its review of facilities, systems, and components related to DFLAW are resolved by the end of hot commissioning. (Recommendation 4)
Open
In a June 2022 letter, signed by the Senior Advisor for the Office of Environmental Management that provided agency comments on our draft report, DOE stated that it concurred with this recommendation. DOE further stated in its letter that it continues to hold the contractor accountable to strengthen both management and execution of the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant DFLAW project elements to begin immobilization of tank waste on schedule, while sustaining a robust safety and quality culture. DOE estimates that it will complete full implementation of this recommendation by December 31, 2022. We will continue to monitor DOE's progress to address this recommendation.
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