Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nuclear Waste: Actions Needed to Address Persistent Concerns with Efforts to Close Underground Radioactive Waste Tanks at DOE's Savannah River Site

This government Accountability Report (GAO-10-816) dated September 14, 2010, finds that emptying, cleaning, and permanently closing the 22 underground liquid radioactive waste tanks at the Savannah River Site is likely to cost significantly more and take longer than estimated in the December 2008 contract between DOE and SRR. Originally estimated to cost $3.2 billion, SRR notified DOE in June 2010 that the total cost to close the 22 tanks had increased by more than $1.4 billion or 44 percent. Much of this increase is because DOE’s cost estimate in the September 2007 request for proposals that formed the basis of the December 2008 contract between DOE and SRR was not accurate or comprehensive. For example, DOE underestimated the costs of labor and fringe benefits. DOE also omitted certain other costs related to equipment and services needed to support tank closure activities.

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