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Program Assessment


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Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative

The program supports research and development of next generation nuclear reactor designs for low-cost, efficient nuclear electricity production, while offering significant advances in sustainability, safety, reliability, physical protection and proliferation resistance. These reactors may also be able to produce hydrogen.


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 originally was found to have strong overall design. Since the original assessment, however, the program has lost focus on its goals. The Generation IV program's research will continue while program goals are re-evaluated. A National Academy of Sciences study will be commissioned in 2006 and the results will help program management set objectives for the coming years.
  • The program relies upon process oriented measures that do not indicate whether the program is successful or demonstrating meaningful progress. The program lacks performance measures that compare the key attributes of the various reactor designs (sustainability, proliferation resistance and security, safety and reliability, and economics) more objectively.
  • 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:

  • Commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate and refine the program goals and objectives. The evaluation will produce policy/research recommendations and priorities.
  • The Office of Nuclear Energy is working with OMB and the DOE CFO to develop meaningful, measureable outcome-oriented measures through the FY 2008-12 OMB budget formulation cycle.
  • 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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