WASHINGTON—The Department of Energy pulled the plug on millions of dollars of geologic research last year after members of Congress from New England became afraid that such work might lead to a nuclear waste repository in their region, a recently released government report has revealed.

The congressional action came in the form of amendments passed late in 1987 to a bill that sets United States policy on the disposal of highlevel nuclear wastes. Investigators from the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) found that it had led to the premature ending of a three-year, $65 million joint drilling project with Canada, which was set to expire later this year. It also halted six domestic projects, totaling $1.5 million, as well as a portion of an 11-year-old agreement with Sweden.

" The provision, sponsored by Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) and Sen. Wilbur Cohen (R-Maine), was meant to ensure that the Department of...

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