An emergency motion has been filed to debate claims of excessive radiation level around the abandoned Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Bukit Merah and its permanent waste dump site at Bukit Kledang, Ipoh.
Citing findings of the environmental movement Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL), Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah,right) said these contradict the assertions of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB).
Filing the motion today, Fong stressed that the issue is specific, of public importance and urgent as it involves the lives of at least 10,000 residents.
SMSL, which is battling the Lynas Advance Materials Plant operations in Gebeng, Kuantan, has claimed that radiation at the Mitsubishi Chemical’s ARE plant, which was shut down 18 years ago, is still at a hazardous level.
The movement conducted a fact-finding mission at the plant in Perak last weekend.
SMSL chairperson Tan Bun Teet (right) said the radiation reading near the plant was around 0.19 microsievert per hour while the reading near the dump site stood at about 0.2 microsievert per hour.
Both readings, if calculated to a year’s worth of radiation, are beyond the safe level of 1 milisievert per year as advised by AELB.
The AELB had vouched on March 8 that the ARE site would be safe enough to be converted into a public park once the Bukit Kledang waste disposal site is completely sealed, which is expected to be done next year.
The agency based this on its observation of the radiation level on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in the area up to a 10km radius from the site.
“In a written (parliamentary) reply on June 21, 2011, on the progress of the refinery’s demolition and disposal of the radioactive waste, the science, technology and innovation minister had declared the site to be free of radioactive contamination and safe since 2006,” said Fong.
As such, she asked whether residents in Papan, Lahat and in particular Kg Baru, Bukit Merah, Menglembu and Pusing, were truly safe from contamination.
“What action has been taken to ensure the safety and health of the residents are guaranteed during the period when the site is being cleaned and the waste disposed of?” she asked.