PERJUANGAN YANG BARU BERMULA

The People’s Green Coalition’s Criticism on IAEA (English)

Statement by The People’s Green Coalition on the Investigation by The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into the Safety of Radiation Level at The Lynas Advnace Material Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang, Malaysia

Issued by The People’s Green Coalition Malaysia on the 11th June 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Introduction

The IAEA was invited by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Malaysia to hold an investigation into the radiative risks posed by LAMP in Gebeng Industrial Estate, Pahang. The IAEA carried out its work from the 30th May to the 3rd June 2011 by having half-an-hour dialogue sessions with various selected groups in Kuantan Pahang and at Putrajaya. It also visited the LAMP site in private without the participation of stakeholders and media reporters.

The Position of The People’s Green Coalition

The People’s Green Coalition resolutely supports the people of Pahang and Malaysia to stop LAMP from operating in any part of Malaysia. We hold that there is no save radiation level and that incremental radiation exposures will harm the health of the people and their future generations by damaging their genome. We further believe that exposing a population to man-made radiation despite their strong oposition tentamounts to a slow and insidious form of genocide and a crime against humanity. ( Ref. 1)

Criticism of The IAEA

We hold that the IAEA was invited by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Malaysia to stage a short and superficial investigation into the radiative risks posed by LAMP in order to pacify the increasingly widespread and strong objection to the LAMP project in Gebeng Pahang.

We object to this public relation exercise for the following reasons:

  1. The IAEA promotes and advocates for the nuclear industries. It is not a neutral body and should not be given the mandate to assess nuclear related risks which result directly from the very industries it promotes.
  2. The IAEA was given priority to overide the World Health Organisation in publishing morbidity and mortality data related to nuclear disasters by virtue of an agreement signed in 1959. It effectly puts a gag on the WHO in publishing such data. (Ref. 2)
  3. The IAEA failed to correctly assess the damages caused by the nuclear disasters in Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. ( Ref. 3)

In particular, we object to the IAEA’s role in Malaysia for the following reasons:

  1. The IAEA was brought in at the late stage of the LAMP project when public anger has been mounting against the opaque manner in which the project has been approved.
  2. The IAEA team was made up of internal IAEA members and members of consultancy firms many of whom have worked with the IAEA. No independent members with expertise in the nuclear safety, public health, environemntal protection, social and economic concerns was included in the team. ( Ref. 4 )

Furthermore, the IAEA panel admitted to the representatives of the People’s Green Coalition that:

  1. The IAEA panel was given a very limited mandate by MITI to assess that the radiation level emitted by the LAMP will conform to the standard prescribed by the IAEA. No other issues will be given considerations.
  2. The IAEA has accepted that there is no safe threshold to ionizing radiation and even exposure to background radiation can cause some cancers. Additional exposure to ionizing radiation can cause further risks. The IAEA has also accepted that one in five workers would get cancer if exposed to the legally allowable occupational doses over 50 years in the workforce. These risks are much higher than that permitted for other carcinogens (Ref. 5).
  3. The IAEA will not take into consideration non-radioactive pollution produced by LAMP . The Environment Impact Assessment submitted by LAMP lists large quantities of industrial acids and chemicals to be used which will adversely impact the environment.
  4. The IAEA panel commented that if the people of Malaysia strongly oppose LAMP, then the Malaysian government should close down the plant.
  5. The IAEA panel also commented that although they have their conscience towards the people of Malaysia, that conscience may not be fully exercised as they are restricted to base their recommendations strcitly according to the radiation safety standard of the IAEA to the exclusion of all other considerations.

Ex-IAEA member Dr. E.E. Fowler’s Report on Bukit Merah in 1986

22 September 1986 : Asia Rare Earth at Bukit Merah, Perak invited an American atomic energy expert, Dr E. E. Fowler (formerly with the IAEA) to visit its factory. Dr Fowler stated that radiation levels near ARE facilities have met ICRP standard and that the factory was safe for operation. ( Ref. 6 )

Contrary to Dr. Fowler’s report, residents of Bukit Merah suffer increased incidences of miscarriages, birth defects, ill health and leaukamia. Seven out of eight leukemic patients have died. Other international experts have testified in law courts that these diseases were due to the radioactive waste produced by Asia Rare Earth. Mitsubishi which owned Asia Rare Earth closed down the plant and has since spent 300 million ringgit to clean up the radioactive waste.

Conclusion

The People’s Green Coalition urge the public to consider the above facts when evaluating the IAEA’s report on the LAMP project which will be released soon.

Any piecemeal recommendations by the IAEA to improve the standard of transportation, handling, processing and disposal of hazardous materials by LAMP are mere tactical manouvres to grant LAMP the licence to proceed. The IAEA has no power to regulate nor has it the power to enforce compliance to its recommendations once LAMP starts its operation. The Department of Environment (DOE) and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) have failed in their duty to regulate the industry as shown by the tragedy of Bukit Merah.

We assert that there is no safe radiation level and that incremental radiation exposure will harm our health and imperil our future generations.

We demand the closure of the LAMP.

We further urge all Malaysians to support our demand for the closure of LAMP.

End of statement

References:

1…WHO issued forthright statements on radiation risks such as its 1956 warning: “Genetic heritage is the most precious property for human beings. It determines the lives of our progeny, health and harmonious development of future generations. As experts, we affirm that the health of future generations is threatened by increasing development of the atomic industry and sources of radiation … We also believe that new mutations that occur in humans are harmful to them and their offspring.”

Dangerously Wrong on Nuclear Radiation : Attack of the Nuclear Apologists ; By HELEN CALDICOTT

2…On 28 May 1959, at the 12th World Health Assembly, WHO drew up an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); clause 12.40 of this agreement says: “Whenever either organisation [the WHO or the IAEA] proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organisation has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement.” In other words, the WHO grants the right of prior approval over any research it might undertake or report on to the IAEA – a group that many people, including journalists, think is a neutral watchdog, but which is, in fact, an advocate for the nuclear power industry.

Dangerously Wrong on Nuclear Radiation : Attack of the Nuclear Apologists ; By HELEN CALDICOTT

3.UN’s nuclear watchdog IAEA under fire over response to Japanese disaster: IAEA and Japanese secretary-general accused of ignoring lessons of Chernobyl and letting firms cut corners at Fukushima.

Japan’s woes, world crisis

4.Lynas panel revealed: Independent, you say?

5. Panel admits no safe radiation level says CAP

6. Consumers’ Association Penang website : Chronology of events in the Bukit Merah Asian Rare Earth developments.

End of references

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