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Program Assessment


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Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative

The program funds research and development of fuel cycle technologies that will meet the need for economic and sustained nuclear energy production while satisfying requirements for a controlled, proliferation-resistant nuclear materials management system.


What This Rating Means

Moderately Effective

In general, a program rated Moderately Effective has set ambitious goals and is well-managed. Moderately Effective programs likely need to improve their efficiency or address other problems in the programs' design or management in order to achieve better results.
  • The program relies upon process oriented, output based metrics that do not indicate whether the program is successful or demonstrating meaningful progress. The program lacks performance measures that capture progress made on its various components, such as separations, fuels, transmutation.
  • Although there has been regular oversight and assessment by the Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee, a formal evaluation process, including international programs with similar goals, has not been established. A National Academy of Sciences study will be commissioned in 2006 to evaluate and refine the program goals and objectives to reflect budgetary constraints.
  • This program and other applied research and development programs at the Department of Energy are working to improve their estimates of potential program benefits and use that information to guide budget decisions. The program has made progress, but estimates are not yet comparable between programs because of different modeling methods and assumptions.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • The Office of Nuclear Energy is working with OMB and the DOE CFO to improve its measures through the FY 2008-12 OMB budget formulation cycle.
  • Commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate and refine the program goals and objectives. The evaluation will produce policy/research recommendations and priorities.
  • Developing guidance that specifies a consistent framework for analyzing the costs and benefits of research and development investments, and using this information to guide budget decisions.

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