Govt needs more information on Western Australia's refusal to accept Lynas waste, says DPM

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. -filepic

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The government needs more information on Western Australia's reported refusal to accept radioactive waste from Lynas' rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

"We need to discuss the matter with the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry," she told reporters at Parliament here Tuesday (May 7).

Yesterday, a local news portal reported Western Australia's Mining, Petroleum, Energy and Industry Relations Minister Bill Johnston as saying that Australia would not accept such waste back from overseas although he acknowledged that the best means of disposal was to its place of origin.

Last month, Deputy Environment Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis disclosed that Minister Yeo Bee Yin had, on Feb 26, sent a letter to Australia for cooperation in ensuring that the waste from Lynas was returned to Western Australia.

The ministry wants the country to help find a way to facilitate disposing of the Water Leach Purification (WLP) residue, which was supposed to be sent to Australia before September as part of the company's licensing requirements.

Besides WLP, the Lynas plant also produces non-radioactive neutralisation underflow (NUF).

As of December 2018, WLP waste accumulated at the Lynas facility stands at 451,564 metric tonnes while NUF waste is at 1.113 million metric tonnes.

Meanwhile, when asked about oversupply of food distributed to the homeless around the capital, which goes to waste, Dr Wan Azizah called on NGOs involved not to focus on one place for charity.

"We do not want to encourage wastage during the fasting month or non-fasting months; it's one of the issues we have to manage. That's why we have a food bank and do not want to waste.

"If possible, distribute to other places where it is needed. Don't concentrate only in one place. Look for those in need... like in mosques and places where such food is not available," she said. - Bernama
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