The Department of Energy spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a radioactive waste treatment plant that ended up breaking down because federal officials didn’t bother to properly test the facility before construction was completed, according to a recent audit.

Federal auditors learned DOE officials likely rushed the building of the waste treatment plant because of political pressure from Congress to come in under budget. Poor management, however, means the project could cost more than $700 million and is more than 4 years behind schedule.

“Specifically, we found that the Department postponed rigorous, comprehensive performance testing; an activity intended to demonstrate the facility’s capability to function as intended and meet mission need, until after construction was declared complete,” reads a recent report by the DOE’s inspector general.

“However, by postponing the comprehensive performance test, the Department failed to perform a rigorous test of the functionality of the facility before construction was declared complete,” according to the IG’s report. “Had the testing been performed prior to declaring the project complete, the Department may have identified the flaws in the original design and corrected them under the discipline of its project management process.”

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