oversight

DOE's Management and Oversight of the Nuclear Weapons Complex

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-22.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                   United States General Accounting    Office

                   Testimony
GA!0     I




For Release         DGE's Management      and   Oversight       of   the   Nuclear
on Delivery         Weapons Complex
Expected    at
1:30 p.m. EST
Thursday
March 22, 1990




                    Statement    of Victor     S. Rezendes
                    Director,    Energy    Issues
                    Resources,     Community,     and Economic
                       Development    Division

                    Before     the
                    Department      oLF Energy Defense
                       Nuclear     Facilities  Panel
                    Committee      on Armed Services
                    House of Representatives




GAO/T-RCED-90-52                                                           GAOForm   160(12   87)
Mr.       Chairman            and         Members              of      the      Panel:


           We are          pleased                to         be here          today           to     provide           our     views           on the
Department               of      Energy's                    (DOE'S)          management                  and     oversight               of     the
nuclear         weapons               complex.                     Specifically,                     we will           discuss    four major
issues        concerning                    the         weapons              complex,              including             (1) continuing
environmental,                      safety,                  and     operational                   problems;              (2) longstanding
management               problems;                     (3)     recent          DOE actions                  with         respect    to
management               and oversight     initiatives;                                         and       (4) our views on these
initiatives               and implications         for the                                    future         management of the
complex.


           Today,          the       weapons                  complex          is        virtually               shut-down.                The
complex         faces            a wide             variety             of     serious               environmental,                   safety,               and
operational                problems,  including                                facilities                  that        have       deteriorated;
others      that           do not comply    with                               environmental,                      safety,        and health
standards;               radioactive    wastes                               that    have been                   stored        for decades;
and       contaminated                    groundwater                   and         soil       that        need        to    be cleaned                 up.
The estimated                    cost         to        address              these         problems              is    staggering--ranging
up to        $155        billion.                   These            and      other           problems            have       been         due,         in
large       part,          to      DOE's            failure             to     effectively                  manage            the     nuclear
weapons         complex.                    These             management                 problems           have         included              an
emphasis            on production                        over         environmental                       and     safety  matters,
shortcomings                  in     DOE's              oversight              function,                  the     absence  of a specific
strategic            plan           for addressing     the modernization       and environmental
problems            of     the       complex,    an over reliance      on contractors,     and
limited         technical                   staff             to     carry         out        departmental                  responsibilities.


           Recently,                DOE has                  taken      actions               designed            to     better           deal      with
its       problems.                 These           actions             include               a management                  and     oversight
restructuring                    within             DOE,           issuance              of    strategic               plans        for
modernization                    and        environmental                      cleanup               of    its        facilities,                and
efforts         to       make         its      contractors                     more      accountable.                         Also,        the
Defense         Nuclear              Facilities                Safety                Board,   mandated                      by the         Congress,
will       provide            outside,                  independent                  safety            oversight.

                                                                               1
        We believe    that  DOE's                              recent      actions   are steps  in the right
direction      for ensuring   the                              safe and environmentally         sound
operation               of     DOE's           nuclear         facilities.         However,  we have identified
several          issues             that        may impact             on DOE's         ability             to      implement              these
actions          as well                 as    to effectively               manage the              complex  in the future.
Among other                   things,            we believe            that   successful              management   of the
complex          will          depend            on DOE's           commitment          to    environmental,                        safety,
and     health               issues,           the close            coordination             and interaction                        of
various          oversight                    groups,  and the               availability                 of      technically
qualified               staff.                More importantly,                 although            DOE has            issued          a
strategic               plan        for        modernizing             the     complex,           this          plan     is    currently
being       revised                and        important          changes        are     being            studied.             Thus,
modernization                      is     continuing     without  benefit                         of an overall                  approved
strategic               plan.             Without    such a plan,    it is                        difficult    to               determine
whether          the          projects             currently           being       funded         will          be required                after
the     plan       is         revised.


          Before              discussing          each           issue  in more detail,                           I would           like      to
provide          a brief                 overview    of          the nuclear   weapons                         complex.


BACKGROUND ON THE
NUCLEAR DEFENSE COMPLEX


          The      basic            mission            of     DOE’s     nuclear          weapons               complex        is,      as you
know,       to     produce                nuclear         material          (such as plutonium and tritium)
for     defense               purposes--              primarily          for weapons and naval  fuel.     This
complex          consists                 of 17 major   facilities                      located    throughout     the
United         States.                   The total  budget      request                   for the complex     for fiscal
year      1992          is
                       $8.6 billion                           and     involves         a staff   of approximately
80,000         people,    including                          both     DOE and         contractor                 employees.


          The      facilities                    in    the      complex        are     owned by the federal
government                   and        operated            by contractors.              DOE is responsible       for
oversight               of       these         contractor             operations.           Many of these   facilities

                                                                         2
were built                 over          40 years                ago and                   have         either         passed          or    are        reaching
the end of                 their          designed                useful                   life.


CONTINUING                 ENVIRONMENTAL,                            SAFETY AND
OPERATIONAL                     PROBLEMS AT THE COMPLEX


          Our         work            over         the        past         several               years           has     described              various
unresolved                 environmental,                            safety,                and         operational              problems               within
the      nuclear             weapons                complex.                         (See     attachment                 I for         a list           of
relevant              reports                and         testimonies).                           Specifically,                   we have             called
attention               to


          --      serious               safety                questions                    regarding              the     operation                of    DOE
                  reactors                   and     other            facilities;


          --      the deterioration      of                                 DOE’s facilities        that   result                                    from
                  aging  and inattention                                     to capital      improvements;

          --      groundwater                       and        soil         contamination                         at     many      DOE
                     installations                        around            the            country,              which      are        at    levels
                  hundreds                   to     thousands                    of        times         above         standards;               and


          --      the        need            to     dispose                of        radioactive                  waste        that         DOE has           been
                  temporarily                       storing                for         decades             at     various          sites           around         the
                  country.


          We have                also         pointed                out         that         our        nation's           ability             to      make
nuclear           material                   for     weapons                    is     virtually                 nonexistent                with        the
shutdown              of        the     Savannah                 River               reactors,              the Rocky Flats                        Plant,         and
the      Hanford                Purex         reprocessing                           plant.              The Waste Isolation                          Pilot
Plant,          a repository                        for        disposing                    of      certain            types       of       radioactive
waste,          is      still           not         open,            and         waste             is    continuing               to    back         up at        DOE
facilities.                      Addressing                    these             and other                 safety,          environmental,                       and
operational                  problems                    is    a formidable                         task,         which        we have             estimated
could          cost        up to             $155         billion.

                                                                                       3
LONGSTANDING MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS
HAVE PREVAILED WITHIN THE COMPLEX

            Throughout                 the      last            decade,               Mr.      Chairman,              our      work,        as well               as
other         independent                    studies,               has      identified                    continuing                problems           with
DOE's         management                  of    the            complex.                These         management                problems            have
contributed                to       the        seriousness                   of        the         environmental,                    safety,          and
health           problems              at      the        nuclear            weapons                complex.                Specifically,
these         problems              have        included,                  among             others,          DOE's          emphasis            on
production              over           environmental,                        safety,                and     health           matters;
shortcomings                   in      DOE's             oversight               of         these      matters,              including             lack           of
technically                qualified                     staff;           and         an
                                                                                    inadequate      strategic                               plan        for
addressing     the problems     of the                                       complex.      In fact,      prior                            to     1985         a
comprehensive        focus  on environmental,                                                 safety,              and       health         issues            did
not exist     within     DOE's management                                              structure.


          As early               as         1985,         we reported                       that      DOE placed               more       emphasis                on
contractor              performance                        in      achieving                 production           goals than on
environmental,                      safety,               and       health             matters.               And, as recently  as
1989,         we indicated                     that            under       DOE's             award         fee     process            substantial
monetary            awards             have          been          paid      to        some DOE contractors                             despite           the
existence             of       significant                      environmental,                   safety,               and health   problems
at    the        facilities                  managed               by    them.               DOE officials                have also
acknowledged                   that,           in        the       past,     production                     has       taken          priority           over
environmental                    and         safety             considerations.


            In     addition,                 we have               issued             numerous             reports            that      have
indicated              shortcomings                        in      DOE’s   oversight                       of environmental,                       safety,
and      health         matters.                     For          example,    in 1981                      we highlighted
deficiencies                    in DOE’s                 programs            for            worker   protection,         emergency
preparedness,                     facility                 safety,           and            environmental        monitoring     at                          all
types         of    DOE nuclear                      facilities.                        Despite            several            actions           taken         by
DOE since              that         time            to     improve              its         oversight            of     nuclear
facilities,                   including                  the       establishment                      of     the      Assistant                Secretary

                                                                                  4
for Environment,                              Safety,             and Health    and the                               Advisory   Committee                               on
Nuclear   Facility                            Safety,             problems   persisted.                                  The Secretary     of
Energy,   on taking                            office             in 1989, determined                                    that         the      existing
oversight               system                for         environmental,                         safety,   and                  health  matters   at
DOE was            a failure.                         The major               cause              was confusion                     among the roles
of     DOE’s           headquarters                         program           management,                       its       field             organization,
and     the        Office               of     Environment,                      Safety,                 and        Health--the                   result            of        an
absence            of       clear             lines          of    authority                     and         responsibility,                            dilution              of
accountability,                              and     an absence                  of        adequate                 specificity                    in      DOE
orders.


          Furthermore,                         lack          of     technically                         qualified               staff          has         limited
the     effectiveness                          of         DOE’s environmental,                                  safety,             and health
oversight               functions.                         Because   of difficulties                                   in         recruiting                    and
retaining               personnel                    with         the      necessary                     expertise,                DOE has                 had      to
rely       extensively                        on the           use       of      contractors                        to    assist             in         providing
assurance       that                    DOE facilities                        are operated     safely                              and         in an
environmentally                          sound manner.                         Studies   throughout                                the         1980s have
shown           that        DOE has                 not      been        able             to     properly                perform             environmental
and     safety              oversight                     because          DOE’s                staff         lacked            the         technical
capabilities                      and         experience.


          Also,             in     March              1987        we pointed                     out         that        DOE did             not         have       an
adequate               plan         for        addressing                  the            wide-ranging                    problems                 it      faces.
At     that        time,           we called                   upon        DOE to                develop              a strategic                       plan       for
setting            forth               (1)     the          projected             facility  requirements                                       for an
updated            nuclear                weapons              complex;             (2) a comprehensive                                      picture  of                  the
environmental,                          safety,              and        health                 issues         that        had         to     be addressed;
and       (3)      a framework                        for      prioritizing                        the        billions                of     dollars               in
federal            expenditures                           needed         to      remodel                 or     build           new facilities,                           as
well       as to            clean             up environmental                             contamination.


           I will             now discuss                      DOE’s          actions                   to    address             these            and         other
problems               of        the         complex.


                                                                                      5
RECENT DOE MANAGEMENT
AND OVERSIGHT                   INITIATIVES


           Recently,             DOE has                  taken                several                actions        designed                to     better
deal       with      these        longstanding                             management                       problems.                 These         recent
initiatives               include                 (1)         a management                            and      oversight              restructuring
within         DOE;       (2)      issuance                     of        strategic                    plans       on environmental
restoration               and     waste              management,                               and     modernization                    of        the    complex;
(3)       assessments             of         its          facilities                           to     determine            whether            they         meet
federal,           state,         and             local             environmental,                             safety,          and        health
requirements;                and            (4)      efforts                    to        make         contractors               more         accountable
for       environmental,                     safety,                 and          health               matters.


       DOE is             now restructuring                                  its               internal      oversight
responsibilities                in order                            to     hold                line     managers    accountable                             for
environmental,                   safety,           and health                                  matters.       DOE's objective                               is to
instill           a "culture"                 throughout      DOE and                                    its      contractors                     towards
environmental                and        safety                  matters                   while          establishing                   clear           lines      of
responsibility                   for         these              issues.


           This      organizational                             restructuring                            has      been        two-fold.                  First,
DOE has           established                 an Office                         of            Environmental                Restoration                   and
Waste       Management                 to     consolidate                             environmental                      cleanup,    compliance
and       waste      management                    activities.                           This office                     is responsible       for
providing            centralized          management    for waste management           operations,
environmental                restoration,        and applied     research     and development
programs           and      activities,       including    program     policy    guidance      to its
field         offices.            Second,                     DOE is                 in        the      process          of     restructuring
safety         functions               to     ensure                     the      safe               operations            of     its        facilities.
Specifically,                   DOE is             transferring                                responsibility                   for        monitoring              and
overseeing               operations                     at      DOE facilities                              among        various             existing             and
newly         created           DOE offices.


           The Defense                 Nuclear                  Facilities                           Safety       Board,         whose             board
members           were      appointed                        this         past                year,      was created                  to     provide
                                                                                          6
outside,           independent                   safety              oversight.                     The Board's                 statutory
authority            includes                 conducting   on-site                               inspections,                 stationing
resident           inspectors                  at DOE sites,      performing                                critical                reviews    of
DOE standards,                   and          providing               recommendations                       necessary                 for safe
operations.


           In     recent         years,            DOE has                 issued             a couple          of      reports            to
address           environmental                       restoration                     and       modernization                  of    the        nuclear
defense           complex.               Last          year,          DOE issued                   its    Environmental
Restoration               and        Waste         Management                        Five-Year           Plan         report         which         lays
out      a $20 billion                   effort              over          the         next       5 years            (fiscal         years         1991
through           1995)         to      (1)      begin          bringing                   facilities            into          compliance              with
environmental                   laws,           (2)         begin          cleaning               up environmental
contamination                   at    DOE sites,                     and         (3)       manage        the     wide          variety           of
radioactive               and hazardous                       waste              that         DOE generates.                     The plan             also
begins           implementing                  an applied                   research               and development                       program          to
help       resolve          DOE's          environmental                             and      waste      problems.


           In     December             1987           the     Congress                  mandated          that          the      President
prepare           a plan         to     modernize                    the         nuclear           weapons            complex.              One year
later,  DOE delivered  the United   States   Department   of                                                                     Energy          Nuclear
Weapons Complex Modernization     Report   to the Congress.                                                                        This
modernization                  plan        called              for         a $45 billion                  restructuring                     of     the
complex           to    build          new facilities                            and       reactors,            upgrade             others,           and
phase       out        other         facilities.


           DOE has          also         begun              assessments                    of     its    facilities                 to     ensure
that       they        achieve           and maintain                       full        compliance     with   federal,                            state,
and      local      environmental,                           safety,                 and health    requirements.                                These
"Tiger           Team" assessments                           evaluate                  DOE’s       environmental,                    safety,             and
health  programs                   and         advise    the Secretary--independent                                                 of line
management --of                  their           (1) effectiveness;         (2) compliance                                           with
federal,           state,            and       local           regulations;                       and (3) internal                       DOE
requirements.                    Recently,                   in addition                        to DOE personnel,
Occupational                Safety             and Health                   Administration                      inspectors                 have

                                                                                 7
participated                     in    these              assessments                     to      provide                their         perspective                   on
DOE's         worker             health         and             safety           programs.


           Furthermore,                    DOE has                 undertaken                     efforts                to      make      its
contractors                 more          accountable                      for           environmental,                          safety,           and        health
matters.               Specifically,                            DOE has             begun             to      implement                changes            to
improve          its        award          fee            process.                   These            changes              include             having          all
awards         reviewed                and      concurred                      in        by DOE headquarters                               and      requiring
that       environmental,                       safety,                  and        health              matters               be weighted                 by at
least         51 percent                  in        the         evaluation                     process.                  In      addition,               in
January   of this                      year,              Secretary                 Watkins                  proposed             an amendment                   to
the Department's                          acquisition                      regulations                        that         would         make management
and       operating               contractors                      liable                for         certain             costs,          claims,              and
liabilities                 currently                     reimbursed                     by DOE.               The proposed                      non-
reimbursable                     costs         include,                  among            others,              fines             and     penalties
arising          from            contractor                     noncompliance                         with          environmental                   laws.


GAO VIEWS ON DOE'S                             INITIATIVES
AND IMPLICATIONS                          FOR THE FUTURE


           DOE's           recent          management                      initiatives                        are        a positive                step        in
addressing                 the        longstanding                       management                        issues          of     the      complex.
However,             we have              identified                     several                issues              that         may affect               DOE's
ability          to        implement                 these            initiatives                       as well               as effectively
manage         the         complex             in         the      future.                     For      example,               with   respect                  to      the
management                 and        oversight                  restructuring,                              we believe                 that       its        success
will       depend           on DOE's                 commitment                     to         environmental,                       safety,              and
health         issues,                close          coordination                         and         interaction                   among          various
oversight   groups,                        and            the      availability                         of     technically                     qualified
staff.    Further,                        success                of      the         “Tiger             Team” assessments                           and the
contractor                 accountability                          initiatives                        will       depend             on DOE's
commitment                 to     and      effective                     implementation                             of     them.           Also,          while           we
consider             the        modernization                         of       the        complex              to        be extremely
important,                 we believe                     that        potential                      changes             to      DOE's         modernization
plan,         coupled             with         DOE's             ongoing                 modernization                        efforts,             have

                                                                                     8
important             budgetary                 implications.                           I would            like        to    discuss            our
views        on each             of      DOE's         initiatives                      at this            time.


Management                and      Oversight                 Restructuring


      DOE's organizational                                        and management    restructuring        provides     a
framework   for establishing                                       the clear  lines    of responsibility          needed
to      effectively                manage             the         nuclear             weapons          complex.                It is
encouraging                to      see      that            the      restructuring                     includes              a combination                   of
internal,             independent                     internal,                  and     independent,                    external             oversight
functions.                 Ke have              long         supported                  the      need        to      improve          DOE's
management                and      oversight                 program                 by having              (1)      line     management
responsible              for environmental,                                  safety,  and, health                            matters;             (2)       an
effective             oversight    structure                               to oversee    how line                           management             is
carrying            out      its         environmental,                          safety,          and        health
responsibilities;                         and         (3)      an independent                         organization                   outside           of
DOE's        control            that        oversees                 the         agency's             internal              safety           program.


           However,             we believe                   that          the        success          of     DOE's          restructuring
will       likely          depend           on four                key      issues.               First,             success          will       depend
on the        level         of        commitment                   to      environmental,                         safety,           and      health
issues        throughout                  the      Department,                        particularly                   how     the      relationship
between           production                and        these            issues           are      managed.                  As pointed                out    by
the      National           Academy              of         Science              in     1987,         assurance              of      safety           at
DOE's        reactors   cannot     be generated                                         by organizational       restructuring
alone;         a change   in attitude     towards                                        safety   will    be needed as well.
The      facilities                are
                                  manned                          by staff              who are familiar                       with operations
from       long       experience,    but                          they are              also accustomed                      to the historic
attitude            that        production                   takes    precedence      over environmental,
safety,           and      health           goals.              Taking    this   into    account,  instilling                                               the
right        attitude              towards             self-assessment                           of    environmental,                        safety,
and      health           matters           will            likely          be a slow                 process.


           Second,          effective                  communication                          between             each      DOE group            within
line       management                 and       the         internal                 oversight           offices             is      extremely
                                                                                 9
important                 because                the         failure              of      the        current            system              resulted,                  at
least          in     part,               from         the          absence              of     clear         lines         of        authority                   and
responsibility.                              Specifically,                       role    clarification                                and clear
guidance              will           be needed                      to     ensure     that     each group                             clearly
understands                    its         responsibilities                               and        relationship                     with         the        other
groups.                For      example,           due                   to the potential                        hazard               to     the         public              and
environment                    from          a nuclear                     accident,   it                  is imperative     that    the
office           and/or              staff             with          authority                  to      shutdown   a nuclear      facility
be clearly                   defined.


       Third,                  because                 DOE’s             restructuring                     of    management                       is     still
undergoing                   change              and        will           entail              several          staff         and           function                  moves
over          a period               of      time,             it        is    important                 that         the     various                  internal
and       external              oversight                     groups              coordinate                  and       interact               closely.
Close          coordination                       and         interaction                       should          help        to        minimize                any
inefficiencies                        and         maximize                    oversight                 effectiveness,                       especially
during           the         transition                     period             of        the      realignment.                        For     example,                  the
transition                   period              provides                  DOE with               the      opportunity                      to establish                         an
early          positive               working                 relationship                        with        the       congressionally
mandated               Defense               Nuclear                 Facilities                   Safety            Board.             Continuing
dialogue               between               DOE and                 the       Board            can      also         serve           to     enhance                  DOE’s
ability             to       respond              more              appropriately                       and     timely            to        the        Board’s
observations                    and          recommendations.


              Fourth,            sufficient                         technical                  resources             will         be needed                      to
effectively                    carry             out      the            oversight     functions.                             However,                   as       I
pointed             out        earlier,                 there             has historically                            been        and        continues                      to
be a shortage                        of      such            staff.               Furthermore,                      competing            demands for
them       may hinder                      DOE’s             efforts                in    attracting                  them.            The competition
is      not      just          limited                 to     private                industry              working               in    these             areas;              the
competition                    extends                 to     other            organizations     within    the                                    federal
government                   as well              as within                    DOE.     For example,    there                                     are currently
over          1,200          sites           that            are         either           on or       proposed    for EPA’s National
Priority               List          under             the          Superfund                  program.      There are also  tens of
thousands                 of    other             sites               that        will          have       to       be cleaned                    up that              are
                                                                                         10
not    currently                   on the         list.                 DOE will                 have           to         compete           for      the
technically                   aualified                staff            with         the         federal,                   state,           and      private
industry               groups            responsible                    for      the        clean               up of            these        numerous
sites.            If        DOE is           unable               to    acquire             the            needed               technically
qualified               staff,            effective                    environmental,                           safety,               and     health
oversight               by      the       department                    in     the         future               is         questionable.
Consequently,                      the       positive                  concept             of        the        restructuring                       may not,            in
itself,           ensure              the     effective                   management                       and        oversight                that         DOE's
renewed           emphasis                  on environmental,                              safety,               and            health         issues            will
require.


Strategic               Plans

           In     our         view,          DOE's           Environmental                           Restoration                       and Waste
Management                   Five-Year            Plan             lays        out         an approach                          for      cleaning            up DOE
facilities                   and      bringing               DOE operations                           into            compliance                   with
environmental                      laws.          It         also         begins                to    provide                   the      Congress            with
the    type            of     information                    it        needs         to         exercise                   effective               oversight.
The    next            step        for       DOE is               to    develop                 programs                   to    deal        with         these
environmental                      problems             and            effectively                     implement                      them     to     ensure
that       its         facilities               are          brouaht             into            compliance.


           We are             more          concerned                  about         DOE's            modernization                        plans.    DOE is
moving           forward              with       its         modernization                           efforts.                    The      Department   has
included               $1.9        billion             for         modernization                           in        its        fiscal        year          1991
budget,    including    design work on two new reactors,                                                                                 restart            of
operations      on DOE's Savannah   River reactors,  and                                                                          renovation                 of
plutonium               operations     at the                           Rocky Flats   Plant.                                     Yet,   at the               same
time,    the            plan,    as outlined                            in the United    States                                       Department             of
Energy           Nuclear              Weapons            Complex               Modernization                               Report,           is     being
revised           and         important             changes,      such                          as relocation                          and     closing             of
key     facilities,                 are          being   studied.


           DOE's             future      modernization                           plans               carry    with                 them important
budgetary                   implications.          In the                        past,               questions                    have been raised

                                                                                11
about        the         need       for         additional                 plutonium               production                 capabilities,
two       new production                        facilities,                  and       upgrading             facilities                  which         may
be phased                out.          Consequently,                 without   the benefit     of an overall
approved            strategic                   plan,         it is difficult      to determine    whether   the
projects            currently                   being         funded    will  be required    after  the plan     is
revised.


"Tiger          Team"           Assessments                   and
Contractor                Accountability


          With           respect            to       "Tiger          Team"            assessments,              we believe                     that      if
they are properly                           conducted,                    thev        could        provide          DOE with
opportunities     for                       improving                the         effectiveness                of        its         environmental,
safety,            and        health            program.                  Preliminary               analyses             of         trends        of     the
first        six         assessments                  show         that          authority            and     responsibilities                           for
implementing                    environmental,                       safety,               and     health          requirements                   are
not      well       defined               or     understood,                     management               systems             lack       sufficient
discipline                to       implement             environmental,                          safety       and        health              programs,
and      there           is     a shortage               of        qualified                personnel              to    carry           out      these
programs     at               the facilities.                             The     ultimate            test      of        these
assessments'                    effectiveness                      will          be determined                by the                extent        to
which   DOE takes    corrective                                    action    for the identified                                  deficiencies.
However,     DOE has historically                                       been slow in correcting                                    the
environmental,      safety,     and                                health   problems   that     it                            has identified
in      previous              environment                and         safety            appraisals.


           Further,                as noted,             DOE has                 begun        to     implement                changes           to
improve            its        award            fee    process              and        to    increase          DOE's                oversight            of
its      contractors                   in       order         to     make         them        more        accountable                  for
environmental                      and      safety            matters.                 We believe              that           if      DOE properly
implements                these           changes,             it should                   increase          the        contractors'
sensitivity                   to    and         performance                  regarding              environmental                      compliance
and      safety           matters.




                                                                                 12
SUMMARY


           In     summary,                 the      environmental,                 safety,                 and        health        problems
facing          the         nuclear              weapons        complex         are     still               critical.                 To DOE's
credit,           it        has      made several                 organizational                  changes                   that      will        enable
it    to    more            effectively                deal with  its problems.    Although                                               these
actions,               in     themselves,               do not remedy the problems      facing                                              the
complex,               they         are      an important                aspect        of     creating                     an organization
and       management                 system           within          which      the    capability                         to   effectively
plan,    implement,                        and      oversee           corrective            actions                   is    developed.
Rebuilding     and                   cleaning           up the complex                  is a long-term,      costly
undertaking,                   and         the      pace,  timing,  and                 resources    devoted    to this
undertaking                   are         fraught        with         uncertainties          given                     the huge budget
deficit           and         other   competing                  demands.              There are                      no quick  fixes  on
the horizon.                     With this    in                mind,  I believe                      it         is    wise        that         DOE
takes  the time                      now to           properly           organize            itself               to       manage         the
actions       needed to                address               the problems     it faces.     This managerial
restructuring        will                likely              continue    this   year as DOE attempts     to
change           its         "culture"       and            acquire   the necessary     expertise  to
effectively                   deal         with       the      problems.


           For         our     part,             because         of     the     importance                  of        ensuring            that        the
nuclear           weapons             complex    is safe and operated    in                                           an environmentally
sound       manner,                 we will   continue   to monitor   DOE's                                           progress   in
implementing                    these            initiatives             and       assess        any             future         actions.




           Thank             you,         that      concludes            my testimony.                           We would           be happy                to
answer           any         questions.




                                                                           13
.



    ATTACHMENT I                                                                       ATTACHMBNT I



                                       BIBLIOGRAPHY OF
                             RELEVANT GAO REPORTS AND TESTIl4ONIES



    1.    Better        Oversight      Needed     for Safety     and Health       Activities        at
          DOE's        Nuclear    Facilities        (EMD-81-108,    Aug. 4,       1981).

    2.    DOE's Safety   and Health   Oversight                   Program  at Nuclear
          Facilities   Could Be Strengthened                     (GAO/RCED-84-50,     Nov.       30,
          1983).

    3.    Environment,    Safety,    and           Health:       Environment       and Workers
          Could Be Better     Protected             at Ohio      Defense     Plants    (GAO/RCED-86-
          61, Dec. 13, 1985).
    4.    Environmental,      Safety,   and Health                Aspects  of the      Department  of
          Energy's    Nuclear   Defense    Complex               (GAO/T-RCED-87-4,       March 12,
          1987) .
    5.    Key Elements      of      Effective     Independent         Oversight       of DOE's
          Nuclear  Facilities            (GAO/T-RCED-87-32,           June 16,       1987).

    6.    Nuclear  Health   and Safety:    Dealing                  with   Problems  in the
          Nuclear  Defense    Complex Expected     to               Cost   Over $100 Billion
          (GAO/RCED-88-197BR,      July 6, 1988).

    7.    Nuclear        Health  and Safety:     Oversight   at DOE's              Nuclear
          Facilities         Can Be Strengthened     (GAO/RCED-88-137,               July      8,
          1988).

    8.    Ineffective          Management        and Oversight       of DOE's P-reactor    at
          Savannah         River,   S.C.,       Raises Safety       Concerns  (GAO/T-RCED-88-
          68, Sept.         30, 1988).

    9.    Nuclear  Health          and Safety:    DOE's Award Fees at Rocky Flats                         Do
          Not Adequately           Reflect   ES&H Problems  (GAO/RCED-90-47, Oct.                        23,
          1989).
    10.   Environment,          Safety,     and     Health:   Status   of DOE's
          Reorganization           of Its       Safety Oversight     Function   (GAO/RCED-90-
          82BR, Jan. 30,           1990).




                                                     14