Better Information Needed to Determine If Nonmajor Projects Meet Performance Targets

December 20, 2012

Of the 71 nonmajor projects that the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) completed or had under way from fiscal years 2008 to 2012, 21 met or are expected to meet their performance targets for scope, cost, and completion date. These projects included a $22 million EM project to expand an existing waste disposal facility at the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee and a $199 million NNSA project to equip a radiological laboratory and office building at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Another 23 projects did not meet or were not expected to meet one or more of their three performance targets for scope, cost, and completion date. Among these, 13 projects met or are expected to meet two targets, including a $548 million NNSA project to shut down a nuclear reactor in Russia for nonproliferation purposes; 8 projects met or are expected to meet one target; 1 project did not meet any of its targets; and 1 project was cancelled. Of the remaining 27 projects, many had insufficiently documented performance targets for scope, cost, or completion date, which prevented GAO from determining whether they met their performance targets. EM and NNSA often did not follow DOE requirements for documenting these performance targets, making it more difficult for GAO and DOE to independently assess project performance.

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