Group upset over Lynas' licence, claims waste data still not provided

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An anti-Lynas group said it is disappointed at the government's decision to extend the full operating stage licence for the company's Gebeng plant for another three years, despite continuing concerns over its waste disposal.

The group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) noted that Lynas, in an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday, said the plant did not cause any notable increase in background radiation in the last four years, and real time readings on the radiation level are also being provided to the public.

However, SMSL said radiation is not the sole concern with regard to the controversial rare earths plant.

"If the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has agreed to renew the plant's operating licence for another three years based on this point of submission, we wish to remind all members of the board that all the commitments and written undertakings by Lynas with regard to the management of the radioactive water leech purification (WLP) wastes and identifying a location for the permanent disposal facility (PDF) have yet to be fulfilled.

"Since the first issuance of the temporary operating licence (TOL) in 2011, AELB has never made any announcements, nor responded to public requests on the data of waste they promised to collect in order to check if these data tally with that submitted by Lynas in their TOL application documents.

"This is important because Lynas did not build any pilot plant prior to setting up the plant and all data on wastes were based on hypothetical calculations," the group said in a statement.

Lynas had previously explained that the permanent disposal facility was no longer necessary as it would be recycling its wastes into commercial products.

SMSL claimed these unaddressed issues ran contrary to Lynas' assertion that its plant had gone through a rigorous review.

It also criticised the Malaysian regulatory authorities for "hiding behind a stone wall of silence".

The approval of the board to renew the plant's full operating stage licence until Sept 2019, said SMSL, "...testifies to the fact that the board has scant regard for the toxic legacy that its decision will leave such dangerous wastes behind for our future generations".

Malaysiakini has contacted Lynas for comment and is awaiting its response.

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