MP for Kuantan
24th May 2011
The Panel of IAEA Experts appointed by the government of Malaysia to assess LAMP (Lynas Advanced Material Plant) will be in Malaysia from 29th May-3rd June 2011.
The fact that the Malaysian government has engaged IAEA speaks for itself that LAMP is dealing with hazardous materials and the handling of materials containing radioactive activity will be the central issue. But then again, the question remains on what is ‘safe’ as well as what are the Safety Standards that’s going to be used as a benchmark. Malaysians especially the citizens of Kuantan has a right to know whether the standards to be used is going to be China Standards or Australian Standards or IAEA Standards? The panel may be pro nuclear in their personal capacity, however, they must remember that their role is to be regulator and not to be promoter in this particular task in Kuantan.
The Amendments to Work Approval on Lynas Rare Earth Concentration Plant dated 1st April 2011 (Work Approval No: W4440/2008/1) mentioned that the radiation specific activity of the tailings at the Lynas Concentration Plant in Mt Weld exceeds the limit of 1 Bq/g set for non- radioactive tailings set by DOIR – (Department of Industry and Resources). The Environmental Assessment Report that accompanied the Amendment to the Work Approval also mentioned that Lynas needs to increase the impermeability of the lining of their storage facility and that Lynas has not complied to the original requirements as in the original Works Approval, thus Lynas has to make additional lining in order to decrease the permeability of the tailing storage facility. (**)
Bearing in mind that operations in LAMP is much more complicated when compared to Lynas’s Concentration Plant in Mt Weld, it is interesting to note that AELB has not made any criticism on the PEIA conducted on LAMP. Considering the PEIA on LAMP was received by the DOE of Pahang on the 20th January 2008 and approved 3 weeks later on the 15th Feb 2008, I wonder why is it that it was too easy for DOE of Pahang to give an approval on such a high risk project. This goes to strengthen my argument that the Malaysian government does not have the capacity to monitor the enforcement on the safety of an industry such as LAMP.
Lynas Corp on the other hand has been quoting the Chinese Standards in their proposal to Trengganu State government in 2007. Presumably the same proposal is forwarded to Pahang, then the radiation specific activity that Lynas is quoting sets the limit of 74 Bq/g for the waste to be categorised as non radioactive waste (**) We can compare and contrast here that the difference is 70 times. It goes further to strengthen my argument that Lynas is using different standards in Australia and different standards in Malaysia. Lynas is also taking advantage of the lax environmental laws in Malaysia to push a proposal using the Chinese Standards.
Since the Scope of Work for the panel of experts, include the various aspects of handling the project from transportation to occupational health to processing and decommissioning, we hereby assert that we expect the Panel to strictly adhere to the various IAEA Safety Code regards the above scope of work, and nothing less.
The Kuantan and Kemaman Citizens, 700,000 in total within the 30km radius of LAMP, will be watching. And the whole world will be watching with full scrutiny that the Panel perform their task with full integrity, transparency and accountability firstly to the people of Kuantan and the panel will have to be answerable to the 700,000 lives within the 30 km radius (since Gebeng Industrial Zone does not have an internal buffer zone). They, the panel must also remember that they must first be answerable to the public, rather than to the government that appoints them.
MP for Kuantan
On Behalf of the Kuantan Concerned Citizens.