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Friday, January 31, 2020

Don’t let Lynas use AELB deposit to pay for RM400 mil waste dump, urges critic

Lynas Corporation says the government has approved a site in Bukit Ketam, Pahang, to dispose of water leach purification residue from its operations.
PETALING JAYA: Bentong DAP MP Wong Tack today said Lynas Corporation must be prevented from withdrawing funds from its US$50 million (RM205 million) deposit with the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) to pay for its permanent disposal facility (PDF).
The outspoken critic of the rare earths processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, said the deposit should be maintained to pay for the monitoring and maintenance of the “radioactive dump” in future.
Lynas had been embroiled in controversy for several years, with environmentalists and some Pakatan Harapan politicians protesting against its plant on health grounds and calling for its closure.
Yesterday, Lynas had confirmed that a remote site in Bukit Ketam, Pahang, had been approved by the state government for the PDF to keep waste from its production operations.
It said the PDF will be used to store its water leach purification residue.
Lynas said it had appointed local firm Gading Senggara Sdn Bhd to manage the PDF for US$98 million (RM400 million).
Gading Senggara also holds the licence for industrial waste disposal for the east coast region of Peninsular Malaysia.
In August, the federal government had renewed the plant’s operating licence for six months on the condition that it establish a PDF. The company was also told to plan for a cracking and leaching facility overseas within four years.
Wong Tack.
Wong said the announcement on the PDF had caused unnecessary anxiety to the people of Kuantan.
He said the PDF will store more than a million tonnes of Lynas’ waste.
“How did the location to build the biggest radioactive dumpsite in the world got approved without a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) and public consultation?
“The final payment (for the PDF) will be made in 2026. Not a single sen will be paid by Lynas thereafter.
“Who will end up paying for the monitoring and maintenance of Lynas’ radioactive dump after that? Our children and future generations? And for how long? Millions of years?,” he asked in a statement today.
He said Lynas’ move to withdraw funds from its deposit with the AELB proves that Lynas is financially incapable of dealing with its massive pile of waste.
He said after Lynas shuts down, the decommissioning of the plant and environmental remediation activities will further generate waste which will need to be disposed of.
“The US$50 million deposit was previously set based on the agreement that all radioactive waste generated by Lynas will be removed from our country.
“So, rather than allowing Lynas to prematurely withdraw its security deposit, the AELB must instead substantially increase the amount required from Lynas to address the long-term risks and cost of monitoring that our children will have to bear for probably millions of years once Lynas packs up and leaves us with their waste.”
Wong said so long as Lynas’ toxic waste remained in Malaysia, this security deposit must not be allowed to be withdrawn.
He further urged the government not to renew Lynas’ operating licence, which will expire on March 2 this year. - FMT

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