KUALA LUMPUR: The initial assessment for Lynas' proposed permanent disposal facility (PDF) in Gebeng Industrial Area is expected to be decided by next month, says Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister said that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and radiological impact assessment (RIA) had been submitted to the Atomic Energy Licencing Board (AELB) and the Environment Department (DoE) for assessment in September.
"They need about two months. It was submitted in September and in November we will make a decision," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Wong Tack (PH-Bentong) who asked why Lynas have yet to build a permanent disposal facility after AELB urged Lynas to do so.
According to Adham, Lynas, the largest rare earth producer outside China, has had its operating license renewed until 2023.
He said the building of the PDF came with conditions or studies that cover all safety aspects.
"Be assured that we will together defend the position of our country if there is any radioactive pollution," said the minister.
Due to concerns about the risk of flooding in the area around Gebeng Industrial Area, a preliminary assessment of the report (RIA) which was received in September, has been done.
"This facility (PDF) is classified as a low-risk area hit by flood," he said.
"I would also like to inform that the area was not hit by the huge flood in 2014.
"The site has also been raised by five metres from the sea level.
"So we are currently doing the evaluation. And as I mentioned earlier, a decision will be made in November," he said.
The waste has been a contentious issue as green activists have protested for years against Lynas' operations in the country, citing health and safety concerns.