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Environment

DOE Nuclear R&D Criticized

by Jeff Johnson
November 28, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 48

A Government Accountability Office report is critical of the Department of Energy’s program to explore the potential of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel from nuclear electricity power plants. The report (GAO-12-70) urges DOE to more thoroughly involve the nuclear power industry, which it says will ultimately use and be responsible for reprocessing spent fuel. It also says DOE needs to interact more closely with other countries that currently reprocess or have previously reprocessed their radioactive waste products. In addition, the report says DOE should better characterize the time and cost of further development of radioactive waste reprocessing and analyze how close these possible technologies are to development. The report urges DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to formalize its relationship with DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, both of which are working on aspects of nuclear spent fuel reprocessing.

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