Lynas plant unsafe Down Under, but okay here

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YOURSAY 'Why does the country of origin choose to send rare earth to Kuantan and accept only the finished products minus the waste?'

Kuantan doc trashes concerns over Lynas' radioactivity

your say Bystander: Dr Looi Hoong Wah, please convince us as to why the Australian government chose to send the rare earth all the way to Kuantan to have it processed, only to send back the finished products to its country minus the waste?

Cheap labour? I doubt it. The transportation and all the stringent handling costs will more than outrun the cheaper labour costs here.

You may be a doctor, but I expect you to have a little common sense when it comes to economics.

Sabahan: Dr Looi, your knowledge appears to be puzzling. If the half-life is 14 billion years, it is very dangerous, because the effects of the radiation remains strong for millions of years and thus will cause mutation.

On the other hand, if the half-life is short, the effects wear off quickly. Chernobyl remains deserted and will remain so for many years.

If you think, long half-life is good, may I suggest, you go and live near a destroyed nuclear plant.

Stop114A: Doctor, you pointed out that you put thorium in your hand and still lived. How about putting it under your pillow from now on?

Is the radiation from the sun safe? Yet thousands of Australians die from skin cancer each year.

That is the reason Lynas is here. The rare earth refinery waste is radioactive, which won't kill immediately but it will one day, when you least expect it.

You gave the ridiculous example of burning a house down in 14 billion years, why should Kuantan people be subject to something like that? Is it okay if we start burning down your house now, bit by bit starting from your chair?

We don't owe Lynas anything and this has nothing to do with politics. Poor Dr Looi, who put you in such position to say what you said. You met a nuclear physicist 40 years ago and now you think you are a nuclear expert.

Excuse me, I think there is a big difference between a physician and a physicist.

Nadja: So this ‘Dr Know-all' is actually saying that the Australian authorities are not so clever.

Why does he only pop up now at election time? Why did he not long ago advise the Australian government that they do not understand nuclear physics and are all wrong?

Maybe they would be happy to learn that the waste is not dangerous and there is no need to ban it from being sent back and dumped in Australia.

Noni: Knowledge 40 years ago can be so outdated that it might not be relevant today.

Thorium emits alpha particles. You can hold it in your hand without any ill effects because alpha particles do not penetrate human skin. But it is dangerous when inhaled, as a human's internal organs has no defence against internal irradiation.

Also, there's the risk of bioaccumulation, i.e. breathe the contaminated air day in day out, or any dust that might drop around the vicinity and get airborne again after agitation by the wind, traffic, etc.

Thorium does not produce electrons. Thorium emits alpha particles, not electricity. This fellow is talking nonsense.

If longer half-life is a non-issue, then scientists won't have a headache with plutonium and uranium, etc - their half-life runs into billions of years as well.

Conclusion, this so-called doc is spreading disinformation.

Free And Fair Election: Dr Looi, I don't need to be a rocket scientist to tell you that any kind of thorium 232 exposed over a long term period is bad for health, otherwise countries like Indonesia and New Zealand which are closer to Australia, would be the first to open their doors to Lynas. Care to explain why?

Righteous: So all the Australians who are concerned about the raw material being shipped past their front doors and the possible radioactive dust that could spread are all wrong too?

Why is the government in Australia taking measures to protect their people and not Malaysia?

Soo Jin Hou: According to Atomic Energy Licensing Board's standard, the radioactive threshold for potassium-40 is 100 Bq/g whereas it is 1 Bq/g for thorium-232. This implies that potassium-40 is 100 times less hazardous than thorium-232.

That's why bananas and potassium chloride salt are classified as non-radioactive as opposed to Lynas' waste, despite the former having equivalent radioactivity.

Jiminy Qrikert: Dr Looi, why speak up only now? If you are so sure of what you claim and can substantiate your claims with proof and references, why did you not come forward earlier, especially in the early stages of the debate.

In any case, whatever your contentions, it is better for Malaysia to be nuclear-free. If it takes Malaysians to keep Lynas out as the first step, then so be it.

Sometimes, all it takes a simple logic - Australia is more progressive than we are and they don't want such a plant there. They don't even want the ore to pass through their towns.

If they don't want it, we don't want it. Simple.

Germany is now shutting down their nuclear plants and they are a precision-driven society. We can't even maintain good roads in comparison.

So, if Germany no longer wants nuclear plants, then we don't want them here, too.

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