Hold renewal of Lynas’ temporary operating licence, AELB urged

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Anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) wants the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to withhold the renewal of the temporary operating licence (TOL) of the Lynas rare earths processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) has been operating with a TOL since September 2012 and is due for another round of renewal in September this year.

However, SMSL listed several reasons to be considered by the AELB and the committee that deliberates over Lamp’s application to renew its TOL before they decide granting Lynas the renewal.

The anti-Lynas group said then AELB director-general Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan had, before issuing Lynas its first TOL in 2012, said AELB needed to let the plant run to collect the waste samples for analysis and compare with the data provided in its documents accompanying its application for the TOL.

However, SMSL said, AELB has yet to declare whether the analysis done on samples of wastes collected tallied or complied with the projected figures provided by Lynas.

Citing experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which recommended that a permanent disposal facility be identified for the proper disposal of the water leach purification (WLP) waste, SMSL said this was not adhered to by both Lynas and AELB.

“This is a gross dereliction of duty by AELB as the regulating authority!” the group said.

Lynas, it added, was unlikely to fulfil any of the promises it had given or had pledged because of its dire financial position, pointing out how it would have defaulted on its debt repayment since last year if its creditors had not agreed to a restructuring of the repayments.

“Given the critical financial position Lynas is in, we wish to know if the safe deposits due to AELB each year have been accordingly paid in full.”

Meanwhile, citing International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed, who had said that Lynas had conducted research to turn its WLP into a soil enhancer, SMSL pointed out how this was announced prior to the renewal of the TOL.

Lynas, it said, had declared in 2014 that it had found a way to recycle the WLP into road aggregates and was waiting to pave an experimental road for long term observation and monitoring.

“Are these announcements coincidental or cleverly contrived to pressure AELB into granting Lynas the TOL renewals?” the group asked.

Citing Lynas’ financial difficulties, SMSL said it could not possibly allocate any funds to structure a concrete plan to manage the solid wastes effectively, especially the radioactive WLP wastes.

“Therefore countless future generations of Malaysians will be burdened with this toxic legacy should it cease operations!

“Are the AELB licensing committee members ready to be remembered as the people solely responsible for this national calamity brought upon by a foreign corporation that used our environment as its toxic radioactive waste dumping ground while reaping profits from its processing operations?” SMSL asked.

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