PUTRAJAYA: A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has undertaken a review of radiation safety at the Lynas rare earth processing facility in Gebeng, Kuantan.
The review, carried out at the request of the Malaysian Government, looked into progress on 11 recommendations made by the IAEA international review mission to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in June 2011 while the plant was under construction.
The eight-member team met officials from national and local governments, Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), staff of Lynas Corporation Ltd and other stakeholders that included non-governmental organisations and local residents.
It also visited the plant, which has been operating since 2012.
“The IAEA team was very pleased with the openness of the Malaysian institutions, Lynas and other stakeholders in providing information and views.
“This was very helpful for our understanding of the situation,” said team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology Division director, in a statement.
In its preliminary observations, they found that good progress had been made in implementing the recommendations at the plant, which generates residues containing an extremely low level of radioactivity.
The team has said that the waste management plan should focus on environmental monitoring activities that give due emphasis to monitoring of liquid discharges.
Communication-wise, matters such as the basis of the financial fund to be paid by Lynas for long-term waste management and decommissioning should be communicated more clearly.
“The AELB and Lynas are encouraged to maintain good relations with the media, public and other stakeholders to address continuing widespread misconceptions about the plant and radiation issues,” the statement said.
The review mission’s final report will be submitted to the Government at the end of this month.