GM: Lynas PDF plan will help rehabilitate wasted land

KUANTAN: Lynas’ proposal to the government on managing its water leach purification (WLP) residue will include using disused mining sites in Pahang as its permanent disposal facility (PDF).

Lynas Malaysia radiation safety, regulations and compliances general manager Prof Dr Ismail Bahari confirmed the move when contacted on the matter.

“Yes, Lynas’ PDF plan is not only to safely store the very low-level radioactive waste and to protect the public from radiation exposure but also to rehabilitate the otherwise wasted land to increase its potential,” he said yesterday.

Prof Ismail said another option would be to turn the current residue storage facility at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant into a PDF.

“That is one option. In fact, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) post-review mission report in 2014 recommended that Lynas considers the on-site WLP residue temporary storage facility as a PDF,” he said.

He also said Lynas had submitted both the PDF Framework and PDF Site Selection Plan to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) in 2013 and both of these plans were approved by the board.

The site selection adopted guidelines provided by the IAEA and the AELB, he added.

Asked whether Lynas was still pushing for the recycle-first plan for its residues, Prof Ismail said: “Safe and productive reuse would support the internationally accepted waste management principle of ‘from cradle to cradle’, a sustainable business strategy that mimics the regenerative cycle of nature in which waste is reused and eliminated altogether.”

On May 30, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Lynas would be allowed to continue operating in the country.

But Lynas had also been told to present its plan on dealing with its rare earth processing waste.

On Saturday, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the Cabinet had taken into account the issue of public safety and had arrived at a decision.

However, she said this decision was not the most ideal for her but it was better than the status quo.

It would appear that her original intention for Lynas to ship out the WLP had been shot down by the Cabinet.

Prof Ismail said Lynas had not received any official feedback from the government so far.

Pakatan Harapan assemblymen in Pahang had voiced disappointment with the Cabinet’s decision although all nine of them said they were aware of the limited options.

The assemblymen, however, said this was a burden left behind by Umno and Barisan Nasional due to their previous approval of the project.

The nine called on the Cabinet to reconsider its decision and also urged the state government not to approve a disposal ground for Lynas in Pahang.

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