Lynas responds to critics of Gebeng plant
In response to a report in Malaysiakini, we are happy to confirm that Lynas has fulfilled its commitments regarding waste management and a permanent disposal facility as follows:
1. As Lynas has consistently stated, only one of the Lynas solid residues contains discernible levels of radioactivity. The relevant residue is known as ‘WLP’. The actual level of radioactivity in WLP is approximately 6 Bq/g, which is classified as very low level radioactivity. As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noted in its 2015 report, the risks associated with the Lynas operation are “intrinsically low”.
A copy of the LAEA report is available at www.iaea.org.
2. Our residues are stored in accordance with the requirements of the regulatory authorities. The WLP storage facilities meet the design requirements of accepted permanent deposit facilities, including the materials used in construction and the management of the material.
3. In accordance with international best practice, Lynas believes that the best use of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) residues will be in commercial applications, and not in long-term storage. Lynas continues its commercialisation program of solid residues from the Lamp.
A successful programme of field trials has been conducted using solid residue material from the Lamp in soil conditioners. The field trials have demonstrated the efficiency of the residue material in enhancing soil structure, adjusting soil pH, enhancing growth and improving yields.
4. In accordance with the regulatory requirements, Lynas has lodged with the regulatory authorities a siting plan and an engineering plan for a personal disposal facility (PDF). However, given the success of the commercialisation programme to date, the preferred outcome for all stakeholders will be for the residues to be commercialised, in which case a PDF would not be required.
In the meantime, material will continue to be stored in well-constructed and well-managed storage onsite at the Lamp.
Concerning data on our residues, we confirm that the actual level of radioactivity concentration in WLP is approximately 6 Bq/g, which is classified as very low level radioactivity. The other solid residues produced at the Lamp have no discernible radioactivity. The total amount of WLP produced to date is approximately 93,300 tonnes on a dry weight basis.
ANDREW ARNOLD is general counsel and company secretary, Lynas Corporation Ltd.