LAS VEGAS — The Energy Department lost $458,000 last year giving away equipment it deemed no longer needed for a financially strapped national nuclear waste dump in Nevada, according to its inspector general.
A never-used conveyer belt feeder and a generator listed as new were among 1,300 items with a potential value of $1.75 million turned over to a contractor for disposal, according to a report released this week by the department inspector general in Washington.
The Sept. 27 report blamed the Energy Department for "poor property management practices" when it rid itself of excess inventory after completing site studies for the proposed Yucca Mountain national nuclear waste repository, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
It said the material could have been auctioned or offered to other federal agencies. Items included a refurbished $792,000 rock-boring machine called a road-header that the contractor advertised for sale as being "in very good condition with only 165 hours of use."