Concern over the safety of the United States’ defense nuclear reactors in the late 1980s led to congressional creation of an independent oversight board. The Defense Nuclear Facility Safeties Board (DNFSB) is responsible for overseeing safety issues at the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear facilities and issuing recommendations on operations and safety at these facilities, which include South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, Texas’ Pantex facility, Colorado’s Rocky Flats Depot, and others. This article provides an historical overview of the DNFSB’s first decade and discusses its relationship and interaction with the Department of Energy and congressional oversight committees as well as the recommendations it has issued on nuclear safety. An assessment of DNFSB’s future prospects concludes the article.


U.S. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, defense nuclear facilities, U.S. Department of Energy defense programs, nuclear weapons storage, environmental policy, public administration

Published in:

Journal of Government Information, Vol. 27, Issue 3, May-June 2000, pgs. 345-383

Date of this Version

May 2000