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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

GAO: "DOE needs to improve transparency in planning for disposal of certain low-level waste"

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report calling for the U.S. Department of Energy to improve transparency in planning for the disposal of certain low-level nuclear waste.

The report, released Sept. 29, alleged the DOE disposed greater-than-Class C waste from decommissioned nuclear reactors, disused medical and industrial equipment, as well as GTCC-like government waste.

"By adding such steps to its guidance, DOE would better ensure its future environmental analyses are transparently documented. This may give stakeholders more confidence in DOE's decisions," the GAO report reads.

The DOE published an environmental impact statement outlining three options for disposing of greater-than-Class C waste including the waste isolation pilot plan in New Mexico, commercial land disposal facilities, or both, according to the report. However, the GAO report states the DOE did not provide adequate reasoning for the presented options, and that the guidance for environmental analyses lacked specific steps for implementing regulatory provisions for transparency.

The GAO recommends the DOE Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management update the environmental analyses guidance to assess and report uncertainty, as well as to improve transparency, according to the report. It also recommends Congress consider clarifying regulatory authority over GTCC disposal and providing direction and guidance to the DOE so that it can move forward with an improved decision for GTCC waste disposal.

The GAO also posted the announcement on Twitter, saying "DOE needs to improve transparency in planning for disposal of certain low-level waste."

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