Accurate estimates for national Environmental Management remediation work programs are an essential ingredient of ensuring that plans can be adequately funded. They also form the basis of value measurement as the work is executed on an annual or program basis. However, the inherent uncertainties of many of the Environmental Management (EM) and decommissioning tasks, both in terms of the technical challenges faced, options available, end states to be achieved; and the general risks and uncertainties associated with the hazard and its characterisation means that many estimates were always going to have very high levels of uncertainty. In 2002 the United Kingdom Nuclear Liabilities Estimate was quoted as £48Bn when the government restructured the UK civil nuclear industry and set out the basis for forming what was to become the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). By 2005 the NDA had assessed the costs as £56Bn but by 2008 the costs had significantly increased to £73Bn and continue to rise. How does this relate to the more immediate challenges of ‘working off’ the plan and demonstrating Value for Money can be achieved in the near term? In parallel the US Department of Energy Environmental Management Office introduced its ‘Best in Class’ initiative in 2007 — the intention being to tackle underperformance and drive improvements in the baselines and the contractor delivery programs. This paper compares and contrasts UK and US EM program performance issues and covers several interdependent topic areas including: a) Government funding impacts, b) Contractor program estimates, c) Program Controls requirements, and d) Independent assurance requirements. This paper attempts to answer the question “how can governments demonstrate Value for Money in EM”.

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