Nuclear Waste

Unresolved Issues Concerning Hanford's Waste Management Practices Gao ID: RCED-87-30 November 4, 1986

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) management and disposal of defense nuclear waste at its Hanford, Washington, facility to determine how Hanford complies with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).

RCRA regulates hazardous waste from its generation through its ultimate disposal, and CERCLA regulates the cleanup of inactive waste sites; DOE is exempt from RCRA where compliance would be inconsistent with the Atomic Energy Act. GAO found that Hanford: (1) has not identified all the disposal units for RCRA permit applications; (2) drafted a report identifying potential CERCLA sites, which excluded at least 400 sites; (3) disposes of liquid low-level byproduct waste directly into the soil, despite state and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposition, because it believes that its RCRA Atomic Energy Act exclusions allow it to do so without a permit; (4) does not meet RCRA groundwater monitoring requirements at four hazardous or mixed-waste units; and (5) compliance with RCRA and CERCLA has become more complex because recent amendments have caused uncertainties concerning the corrective actions required to receive RCRA permits.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Team: Phone:

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.