Monitor radioactive waste from rare earth processing, urges group

KUANTAN: The Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL) group has called on the authorities to closely monitor the radioactive wastes generated during the extended period of lanthanide processing by Lynas Malaysia.

SMSL chairman Tan Bun Teet said although it was regrettable that considerable considerations had been granted to Lynas, they hoped there would be no more further extensions.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang announced on Monday (May 8) that Lynas Malaysia's cracking and leaching operations would be extended until Dec 31.

Chang said effective from Jan 1 next year, Lynas had to ensure its cracking and leaching operations abroad would be operational and it would no longer import naturally-occurring radioactive material into Malaysia.

This was after a hearing on April 28 on Lynas' appeals to drop four licensing conditions.

Chang said other than the extension, a decision was made to reject the appeals.

Tan called on Chang and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to ensure the radioactive wastes generated during the extended period were managed effectively and safely.

"The presence of an added larger volume of the radioactive wastes as a result of this extension of the cracking and leaching process will definitely have its impact on the environment.

"We urge the minister to uphold the commitments by Lynas to ship out the water leach purification wastes should it fail to identify a suitable site to build the permanent disposal facility," said Tan.

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