Lynas: Don't compare rare earth residues with Sg Kim Kim pollution

KUANTAN: It is unfair to compare Lynas residues with the pollution in Sungai Kim Kim, says the rare earth materials producer.

Its radiation safety general manager Prof Dr Ismail Bahari said the rare earth materials producer had been monitored from day one and there had not been a single incident that caused alarm.

"You cannot relate Lynas to Sungai Kim Kim. The reason is simple. We have been monitored by the regulators, the International Atomic Energy Agency, by everybody even before we started operations.

"The evidence and data are made available to the public. It is not fair to compare Lynas with Sungai Kim Kim because it is just not the same," he told reporters after attending a press conference called by anti-Lynas activists here Sunday (March 24).

Dr Ismail said Lynas had always adhered to the strictest of regulations and would have been penalised a long time ago if it had committed any wrongdoing.

During the press conference, Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas legal adviser Hon Kai Ping said there were more than one million tonnes of residues classified as scheduled waste being stored at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Gebeng here.

"Under the 2005 Scheduled Waste regulation of the Environmental Quality Act, no more than 20 tonnes of waste can be stored on site for more than a period of 180 days.

"Yet, we have seen Lynas piling up this type of waste more than 60,000 times over the permitted levels.

"What is happening to the authorities and those who are supposed to enforce the law? Where is the law and order in the case of Lynas and what about the public health concerns?" he said.

Hon claimed that Lynas' waste would have serious implications in the long run, likening it to the pollution disaster at Sungai Kim Kim.

To this, Dr Ismail said the anti-Lynas activists do not know the content of the neutralisation underflow (NUF) residue itself and yet they claimed it was toxic.

"We have the data and analysis carried out by Sirim that shows it is not toxic. If it is not toxic and can be reused, then why not?

"It just so happens that before we can commercialise the NUF, we have to store it properly," said Dr Ismail, adding that the storage of this type of residue was not something unique and had been done before.

He said although the executive review committee appointed by the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry noted in its report that there was contamination in groundwater samples, the committee had never pointed fingers at Lynas.

"But they made an important suggestion, that is to investigate this further. If we do it, we may be accused of being biased. An independent investigation would be suitable," he said.

Dr Ismail also asked that the public evaluate the findings of the 2012 parliamentary select committee and the recent executive review committee that were both appointed by different governments.

He said it was good that the public was concerned but they should not be emotional.


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