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Audit Report: WR-B-99-04

June 25, 1999

Approval of Title X Remediation Claims

From 1943 to 1970, most of the uranium ore in the Untied States was milled under contract between the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and private companies. In the 1960s and 1970s, after these contracts ended, many of the uranium mills closed down and left large quantities of waste, such as uranium mill tailings and abandoned buildings at the sites. Numerous scientific studies determined that the abandoned mill sites were a potential health hazard. In response to this health hazard, the U.S. Congress passed the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978. Subsequently, Congress determined that the Federal Government had a responsibility to pay for part of the sites reclamation costs. Consequently, a reimbursement methodology was established and codified as Reimbursement for Costs of Remedial Action at Active Uranium and Thorium Processing Sites (10 CFR 765). This regulation allowed for mining companies to submit remediation claims to Department of Energy (DOE) for review, approval, and reimbursement. However, the claims had to be supported by reasonable documentation in order to be eligible for payment. The objective of the audit was to determine if Title X--Remedial Action and Uranium Revitalization (Title X) of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 remediation claims were properly supported and approved for payment.