Nuclear Material: Several Potential Options for Dealing with DOE's Depleted Uranium Tails Could Benefit the Government

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the 1940s, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been processing natural uranium into enriched uranium, which has a higher concentration of the isotope uranium-235 that can be used in nuclear weapons or reactors. This has resulted in over 700,000 metric tons of leftover depleted uranium, also known as "tails," that have varying residual concentrations uranium-235. The tails are stored at DOE's uranium enrichment plants in Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky. Although the tails have historically been considered a waste product and an environmental liability, recently an about ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 3, 2008.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the 1940s, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been processing natural uranium into enriched uranium, which has a higher concentration of the isotope uranium-235 that can be used in nuclear weapons or reactors. This has resulted in over 700,000 metric tons of leftover depleted uranium, also known as "tails," that have varying residual concentrations uranium-235. The tails are stored at DOE's uranium enrichment plants in Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky. Although the tails have historically been considered a waste product and an environmental liability, recently an about tenfold increase in uranium prices may give DOE options to use some of the tails in ways that could provide revenue to the government. GAO's testimony is based on its March 31, 2008, report entitled Nuclear Material: DOE Has Several Potential Options for Dealing with Depleted Uranium Tails, Each of Which Could Benefit the Government (GAO-08-606R). The testimony focuses on (1) DOE's potential options for its tails and (2) the potential value of DOE's tails and factors that affect the value. It also contains an analysis of DOE's legal authority to carry out the potential options. In its report, GAO recommended that Congress consider clarifying DOE's statutory authority to manage depleted uranium. GAO also recommended that DOE complete a comprehensive uranium management assessment as soon as possible."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 3, 2008

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Nuclear Material: Several Potential Options for Dealing with DOE's Depleted Uranium Tails Could Benefit the Government, text, April 3, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291398/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.