10th Sept 2012.
For Immediate Release.
In the latest AELB’s statement, dated 8th Sept 2012, Raja Aziz Raja Adnan, the Executive Secretary of AELB had reaffirmed that the removal of the waste by Lynas is legally binding and that it is an integral part of the TOL that was issued to Lynas on the 5th Sept 2012. He also mentioned that it was permanently documented in the license document which was issued out to Lynas.
However the license document with all the conditions had not been made public. It is in the interest of the rakyat that this document be made available to the public, considering there are many issues which has not been clarified.
The issues below will have to be answered first by AELB, before the rakyat can be truly confident in AELB as regulators.
1) What are the time frame that Lynas has to abide to in the conditions that was imposed? How long after start of operations does Lynas have to start removing their waste out of the country? We must remember that in the first year, LAMP will produce 32,000 metric tonnes of WLP solid, radioactive waste. The amount will double in the second year of operations to 64,000 metric tonnes of radioactive waste. We must also remind AELB that in the license issued to Lynas by the Australian Environmental Protection Agency (Ashton-1992) amongst the condition imposed is that the waste has to be returned to the mine in Mt Weld, as soon as they were produced. The tanker that carries the ore to the plant is also tasked to carry back the waste to the mine. A time frame of maximum 8 days is given in times of bad weather or flood, otherwise it’s straight back to the mine. (See page 28 of the license in the attachment)
2) What happens if the waste is not removed from the plant, and out of the country within the time frame? Is there a PENALTY CLAUSE included in the license document?. What is the penalty to be imposed on Lynas if they do not abide to the conditions?
3) Since Australia has already mentioned a few times that they do not want to accept the radioactive waste from LAMP back into their country, that means, there must be a ready buyer for the commercialized radioactive waste. So far we have not seen any letter of intent from any buyer. If there is no buyer, does that means Malaysia becomes the storage area for stockpile of commercialized radioactive items? Instead of radioactive waste, we now have to deal with commercialized radioactive items? Certainly the rakyat needs to know if the rakyat is being taken for a ride by all the said conditions which were not made public.
So far there is just a 3 liner letter of undertaking from Lynas indicating so called commitment to remove the radioactive waste from Malaysia. There is nothing concrete and legally binding on that letter of undertaking. alone.
4) What happens if there’s no buyer for the commercialized radioactive waste, and Lynas, which is an Australian owned company suddenly pack up and leave Malaysia? We cannot then hold them accountable to the radioactove waste and the Malaysian government will have to take responsibility on the waste for the next 14 billion years.
5) What about a Detailed EIA which is now compulsory on Lynas? A Detailed EIA will require a rigorous study on public health, the impact of having LAMP in such close vicinity to people and for HIA to be conducted. It must also be mentioned here that a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) was also one of the recommendations made by the PSC on Lynas.
6) What about the other conditions imposed by the IAEA which have not been fulfilled? Have AELB laid down the conditions in the license too?
7) AELB said that they will be closely monitoring Lynas, on a daily basis. Monitoring what, may I ask when we do not even know what are the conditions that has been outlined in the license document.
AELB must come clean and be transparent. The rakyat deserves no less than to view the license document as well as to scrutinise the conditions imposed on Lynas. We have seen how AELB manipulated the situation by issuing the TOL, after leave has been granted by the High court of Kuantan on the 28th august 2012, thus making a mockery of the court procedures. AELB had shown no integrity and competency in their actions so far.
In April 2011 Raja Aziz and AELB created an uproar when he stated that the waste from LAMP is so safe that it can be scattered everywhere.
In fact if left to AELB, Lynas would have got away with the initial proposal of keeping their radioactive waste “onsite” forever.
AELB as regulators have never imposed any regulations on Lynas by their own consciense. They only imposed regulations after receiving inputs and pressure from the public. Considering the track record of AELB that has not shown competency in handling Lynas issue all these while, the public can be forgiven if they are jittery with every of AELB’s decision. The public too, deserves to have a look at the license documents issued to Lynas.
Furthermore, it should not have been the AELB regulating the Lynas plant in the first place. Why can’t we have an authority similar to the Australian EPA regulating such activities, since it is not just radiation that we’re concerned with? The bigger issues are impact on the public health as well as impact on the environment. Lynas would never have seen the light of the day if Malaysian authorities had been competent from day one.
AELB should either “Buck Up” or be prepared to “Pack Up” !!
MP Kuantan, Malaysia.
PKR National Vice President