BEEF Program Did Almost Nothing But Cost Taxpayers
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Another Stupid Bit of Needless Government Spending
Taxpayers for Common Sense is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare. Here is their latest news update.
“BEEF”ing Up on the Taxpayer’s Dime Taxpayers paid for about $500,000 in unnecessary expenses at the Department of Energys (DoE) Big Explosives Experimental Facility (BEEF), according to a March report by DoEs Office of the Inspector General.
BEEF was established in 1997 as part of the stockpile stewardship program, which aims to maintain the safety, reliability and performance of the U.S.s existing nuclear weapons.
The Nevada facility was designed and is operated to perform large-load, high explosive experiments that could not be performed at other DoE firing facilities due to local limits on how large explosives can be.
But very few shots were performed at the facility, and even fewer actually had to be done there, according to the report.
Since opening, 60 shots have been performed at the BEEF. No shots at all were conducted at the facility in 19 of the 38 months it was open and only three could not have been performed at other test sites cheaper.
The facility may get even less use in the future. Only DoEs Livermore lab currently conducts tests at the facility. The trend is away from large-load explosives experiments of the type conducted at the facility, according to Livermore and Los Alamos lab personnel cited by the report.
The report found that the Nevada DoE office did not even review use of the facility, believing that it was obligated to operate BEEF on a full-time basis. The office requested and has received funding for full-time operation, despite the facilitys limited use.
Nearly half of the facilitys $1.3 million budget could be saved if the BEEF operated only on an as-needed basis, according to the Inspector General.
The Nevada Operations office plans to act on the Inspector Generals recommendation to operate the facility on an as-needed basis and to periodically review use of the facility to find ways to reduce operations at the facility.
It is unclear whether labs will be required to provide justification to use BEEF for tests that could be performed at test sites closer to those laboratories. The recommendation could yield even more savings for the taxpayer from a reduction in travel expenses associated with conducting tests at BEEF rather than at local labs.
In any casel, the Inspector Generals recommendations will save taxpayers at least half a million dollars a year. Taxpayers should be grateful for the offices vigilance.
For more information, contact Christopher Burley at (202)-546-8500 ext. 114 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
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