A rushed visit, a half-baked IAEA report

Posted on July 2, 2011. Filed under: Pollution |

-Free Malaysia Today-

The anti-Lynas group claims the IAEA experts did not study the environmental characteristics of the site during their hasty visit to the factory.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Save Malaysia Stop Lynas Movement today criticised the Lynas report prepared by the nine-member International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) panel, saying that it had not taken into account environmental factors of the site in Gebeng, Kuantan, where the RM700-million rare earth refinery is nearly half-completed.

“The IAEA report did not take into consideration the nature of its site. Studies by other factories occupying the area have found that the water table level is hardly one metre below the surface,” said Tan Bun Teet, head of the Save Malaysia Movement.

“With such a water-logged area, it definitely is not the place to site a factory that produces radioactive waste in such large quantities.”

He said that the IAEA report had not covered this aspect because the panel of experts had been rushed through the factory in a single morning.

Tan also pointed out that the radiological impact assessment (RIA) prepared by Nuclear Malaysia was based on data supplied by Lynas.

“This is totally unacceptable as there is an obvious conflict of interests,” he said.

He also drew attention to the New York Times report which claimed there were construction and design flaws in the plant.

“All these issues were not addressed specifically in the IAEA Report. All these discrepancies have put the entire population of Gebeng, Balok, Kemaman and Kuantan at greater risks to exposure of hazardous radioactive waste.”

Stop the project

The Save Malaysia Stop Lynas Movement urged the government to investigate the truth of the New York Times report and put a halt to the project before it irreparably harmed the community and environment.

When asked why Save Malaysia Stop Lynas had not submitted a memorandum to the panel, Tan said that “we were of the opinion that the scope of reference under which it was to operate would not do justice to the issue of the Lynas plant”.

The panel released a 55-page report that found the Lynas Gebeng plant to be safe by world standards but still recommended 11 improvements for the government to implement before awarding Lynas further licences.

However, Lynas Corp is confident it will be able to fire up its controversial rare earth refinery in Gebeng by year-end, in spite of the government’s freshly imposed conditions.

“We believe the plant will be fully commissioned by the end of 2011. Full production will ramp up
by the second half of 2012. We believe that schedule is intact,” said Nicholas Curtis, executive chairman of Lynas.

The refinery is being constructed by Australia’s Lynas Corp, which plans to ship the rare earth ore mined from Western Australia’s Mount Weld to the Gebeng plant.

Rare earth metals, crucial to high-technology products such as Boeing airplanes, smart bombs, Apple’s iPhone and hybrid cars, have become increasingly vital.

Reports say the plant may earn RM8 billion for Lynas, but critics have questioned the real
economic benefit of the project, pointing to the 12-year tax break the Australian company will enjoy.

The government expects Lynas to spend RM4 million a year, in addition to the RM700 million it has already poured into plant.



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One Response to “A rushed visit, a half-baked IAEA report”

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Anti Lynas group, its now time to give up … IAEA report clearly stated that LAMP is save … believe in that and use the great opportunities given by this project to your region.

With the financial outcome of this project it would be possible for you to establish the totally green industry, so take it as a chance …


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