Monday, 17 September 2012

TOL issued when Lynas is still scrambling to deal with its hazardous waste

Press statement of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL)
TOL issued when Lynas is still scrambling to deal with its hazardous waste
September 18th, 2012
Last Friday, a diplomat from the Australian High Commission informed Malaysia Insider that Lynas has applied to the regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) to return its radioactive waste from Malaysia.  According to the diplomat, Canberra has reiterated its policy of not accepting waste from another country.  This policy was also shared by the Western Australian Government.  Its Minister for Mining and Petroleum has several times rejected in the state Parliament the notion that Lynas can ship the waste back to WA – see relevant attached document for details

SMSL spokesperson Mr Tan Bun Teet responded.
“When the government approved of the TOL for Lynas in January, no safe or viable permanent solution was found for its waste. Today, the TOL has been issued and yet Lynas is still scrambling around trying to find a permanent solution to its waste.”

“Where is the Government’s duty of care to protect citizens and our country’s future? The government is making a fool of itself in the eyes of responsible governments the world over by issuing the TOL at the expense of tax paying rakyat and our precious environment.”  He added.

The story prompted WA State Greens MP Robin Chapple to criticise Lynas for trying to operate outside the law in Australia as it is operating in Malaysia where legal scrutiny on toxic waste is not as tight as in Australia – see details in
Rare earth refinery produces huge amounts of waste in all streams – potentially polluting the air, the water and surrounding land.

“We are shamed of the BN Government for not exercising prudence when dealing with one of the world’s largest rare earth refinery project.” Lamented Haji Ismail Abu Bakar, a Kuantan resident and a SMSL spokesperson.

“It is even more embarrassing when the Government went so far as to give Lynas a 12-year tax holiday when ordinary Malaysian tax payers have toil and work hard to pay their taxes hoping to live in a clean and safe country in return!” He added.

Earlier this month, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) claimed in its press statement on its decision to issue the TOL that Lynas has fulfilled all of the technical and additional conditions set by the Government and that Lynas will remove the radioactive waste.  However, no detail was provided as to how Lynas has fulfilled them for public scrutiny.
Please refer to the relevant attached document for details of the conditions -

Ram Pususamy another Kuantan resident retorted “show us exactly how Lynas will remove its radioactive waste from Malaysia! Show us how Lynas has fulfilled all of the seven additional conditions set by the AELB and MOSTI!”

When the Malaysian Government requested the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to review the pre-licensing stage of the Lynas project, the IAEA made eleven recommendations which both the Malaysian Government and Lynas have publicly pledged to adhere to - see relevant attached document for details of the recommendations -

“The AELB and MOSTI think we are fools to accept their weak and hazardous proposition when we know for a fact that Lynas has NO way of shipping its radioactive waste OUT of Malaysia legally.” Continued Ram.

Apart from Australia’s refusal to take back Lynas’ hazardous waste, trans-boundary transportation of hazardous waste is controlled by the Basel Convention

Additionally, there remains pollution risks for the air and water as huge amount of discharges in these two streams are also expected from the Lynas plant.  In the USA at the Molycorp rare earth plant and in Lynas’ Australian licensing conditions, the company is bound to a zero-discharge condition to prevent contamination of ground water.  In both cases, strict air pollution control of hazardous gases is required whereas for the Malaysian plant, details of how such pollution will be minimised remain unclear.

Furthermore, the AELB’s track record in managing radioactive waste remains poor and unsatisfactory. It has failed to recover all of the radioactive waste from the previous rare earth plant in Bukit Merah as would be expected under international standards to ensure public safety.

“With the strong public support we will do whatever it takes here in Malaysia, in Australia and in every corner of the world where Lynas hopes to conduct its business.  We will pursue legal actions and a wide range of campaigning activities with the support of our allies until the rare earth plant is shut down.”  Concluded Mr Tan.


  1. After reading this post/posts I can not help but point out factual evidence that is lacking in your argument. After reading this it appears that the main concern is no longer whether correct procedures are being met but, that everyone wants Lynas Corporation out of the country? To set up and run any business you need to meet strict regulations and a project of this magnitude would need exactly those before it could even be built.A great county such as Malaysia would surely have these correct guidelines in which to follow which no doubt have been meet. To spread incorrect information and encourage such behavior is not right.

  2. The innovation of such a plant would be a great symbol of what the human race is able to achieve, with the products produced being used to promote a cleaner healthier world not to mention the technological advances that could be made with the help of such products.