SMSL/PSHK Media Statement
8th July 2015
We finally received the report of the International Post-review Mission of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 26 Jun 2015. It has been almost 8 months since the delegation visited Malaysia on 13-17 October 2014. Malaysian public deserves an explanation on why the report took such a long time to be published. The public should be made known of the executive summary of the report which would then reflect the transparency as well as public engagement by the government and Lynas
The report titled “The International Post-Review Mission on the Radiation Safety Aspects of the Operation of a Rare Earth Processing Facility and Assessment of the Implementation of the 2011 Mission Recommendations” mainly focused on the public and operational safety, radiation protection, safety assessment, waste management, decommissioning and environmental remediation.
It is disappointing that the imminent need for Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) is still absent. To recap, finding a location for the PDF for the WLP waste and the decommissioning is one of the requirements for Temporarily Operating License (TOL) to be granted to Lynas. Instead of keeping true to their recommendations concerning this issue, the IAEA team suggested “A scenario in which the Residue Storage F 9as presently executed on-site) becomes the Permanent Disposal Facility for the WLP solids should be addressed by Lynas and included in an update to the Safety case and reflected in other supporting documents as appropriate”
Though submissions have been made by residents’ groups on this subject where Lynas has repeatedly claimed that they are currently doing research on the recycling of the WLP waste and the government of Malaysia has Issued statements to the effect that even if those experiments were to be successful, the industrial by-products from the recycling have to be shipped abroad!
The Review Mission team was fully aware of Lynas’ plan to use the RSF as PDF for WLP solids and yet chose to hide their support by mentioning that should Lynas elects to do so, all it has to fulfill is to “merely update their Safety Case report and in other supporting documents”! If it is not because of restriction on land use requirements by AELB, the proposal would have been treated as the acceptable solution to Lynas’ waste disposal of WLP solids.
IAEA report also pointed out the fee adequacy of USD50 million for covering the cost of the long term management of waste including decommissioning and remediation is undetermined by the report. The review team suggested the fund’s financial basis and adequacy be assessed again against an appropriate estimate of potential future liability. This is extremely urgent and important as Lynas is currently under financial distress, and the USD50 million deposits can only be paid in full over a period of 7 years instead of the original 5.
Besides the waste management activities in the Decommissioning Plan are only vaguely described, the aquatic pathway of the waste water discharge is not radiologically monitored and this must be viewed seriously. Immediate remedial actions must be taken accordingly.
In its follow-up suggestions the IAEA Post Review team requires Lynas to define clearly the quantification of the management options for the waste generated and the disposal routes for these wastes be more consistently defined.
This indicated that Lynas has yet to have a comprehensive and accepted way to manage the thousands of tons of wastes generated so far.
Both the Malaysian Government and Lynas have failed to comply with all the recommendations by IAEA in its first Review Mission! To conclude otherwise which the IAEA Post Review Mission team has done is tantamount to committing grave injustice to the people living within the 30 km radius of the rare earth plant!
IAEA Report: https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/malaysian-rare-earth-plant-complies-iaea-recommendations-report-concludes