Sunday 31 July 2016

Press statement by Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) on the coming renewal of Temporary Operating License before 3rd September 2016 to Lynas Advanced Materials Plant(LAMP) at Gebeng, Pahang.

Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) has been operating with a Temporary Operating License (TOL) since 3rd September 2012. The TOL was renewed under the name of Full Operating Stage License in September 2014. It is due for another round of renewal in September 2016.

We hereby strongly urge AELB and the Committee that sits and deliberates over LAMP’s application for renewal of TOL to consider the following reasons before deciding to grant them a renewal:

1. In 2012, before issuing Lynas the first TOL, the Director General of AELB, Dato Raja Abdul Aziz said they needed to let it run to collect the waste samples for analysis and compare with the data provided in their documents accompanying their application for TOL.

Till this date AELB has not declared or stated openly if the analysis done on samples of wastes collected tallied or complied with the projected figures as provided by Lynas.

2. Prior to issuing the TOL, Lynas had given a written undertaking to AELB and the Malaysian Government to dispose of the radioactive WLP wastes generated either by recycling it into industrial byproducts or ship them overseas. It is based on this undertaking that the TOL was granted and issued by AELB.

In the ensuing months and just prior to its first renewal (which they renamed the TOL as FOSL) they claimed to have carried out research and were ready to pave a road using this byproduct called road aggregates. Nothing further was heard about this soon after the TOL was renewed!

3. The panel of experts from IAEA has recommended a permanent disposal facility (PDF)be identified for the proper disposal of the WLP waste and the decommissioning before an operating license is issued. This was not adhered to both by Lynas and AELB.

Ironically, Lynas submitted a conceptual plan for the proposed PDF and based on that AELB issued the TOL!

This is a gross dereliction of duty by AELB as the regulating authorities!

4. Lynas is presently unlikely to fulfill any of the promises they had given or pledged because of its dire financial position. They would have defaulted on their debt repayment since last year if their creditors had not agreed to a restructuring of the repayments! They even requested for permission from their creditors to allow them to draw down on the interests paid to them to be used as operating capital as reported in their announcement to the ASX recently.

Given the critical financial position Lynas is in, we wish to know if the safe deposits due to AELB each year have been accordingly paid in full as stated in the schedule?

This is important as the safe deposit shall be used to manage the wastes left behind should Lynas cease operating due to whatever reasons.

5. From the data given by Lynas in its RWMP, for each Kilogram of REE refined from REO, there will be 13.365 kg of solid waste produced inclusive of 2.84 kg of radioactive WLP waste by LAMP.

Ending 30th June 2016, LAMP has produced a total of 28,270 tons of REE.

The total waste breakdown of each category of solid wastes is as below:

NUF : 223,395.82 tons

FGD : 74,029.70 tons

WLP : 80,412.44 tons

Solid waste in retention ponds: 1,256.44 tons.

The total solid waste produced to date adds up to a grand total of more than 379,094.40 tons!

LAMP is in full operation since the month of June this year. This means it is producing more and more solid wastes each day.

Lynas has in 2014, declared that it had found a way to recycle the WLP into road aggregates and was waiting to pave an experimental road for long term observation and monitoring. That was announced before it acquired its renewal of the TOL.

This time, through our esteemed MITI Minister’s mouth, we were told that Lynas has done research to turn WLP into soil enhancer and it is waiting to carry out the field tests sometime next year! Again this is announced prior to the renewal of TOL due this September!

Are these announcements coincidental or cleverly contrived to pressure AELB into granting them the TOL renewals?

Given the financial difficulties Lynas is now facing, it cannot possibly allocate any funds to structure a concrete plan to manage these solid wastes effectively especially the radioactive WLP wastes. Therefore countless future generations of Malaysians will be burdened with this toxic legacy should it cease operation!

Are the AELB Licensing Committee members ready to be remembered as the people solely responsible for this national calamity brought upon by a foreign corporation that used our environment as their toxic radioactive waste dumping ground while reaping profits from its processing operations?

We hereby call upon the Pengarah of AELB to withhold the renewal of its operating license.

Dated 31st July 2016.