Malaysia sets special radiation standards for rare earths plant to get Lynas off the hook
The AELB standards would be used to exempt and clear Lynas’ radioactive wastes for reuse and recycle. The exposure to radioactive waste was one of the causes that led to high levels of lead poisoning and other severe health complications of the people in Bukit Merah.
TOL sell-out by PSC: The final smirk from Lynas , Malaysia Chronicle, by Charles Santiago, 19 June 2012 “…….Health over investment? The PSC has outlined a guideline to look into health measures for the people, wording it to say that this was undertaken to arrest the fears of the public. Severe birth defects, eight leukemia cases over five years in a community of 11,000, tears and anguish of the poor people from a largely shoe-making community – these are not news headlines. Neither is it the plot of a movie.
These are the consequences of carelessly allowing the Asian Rare Earth factory to be built in Bukit Merah, Perak in 1982. When Mitsubishi Chemical started operating its rare earth factory, the villagers complained of choking sensation, pungent smell, coughs and colds.
The community also saw a sharp rise in the cases of infant deaths, congenital disease, leukemia and lead poisoning. Thirty years later, it has not wiped out the memories and heartache of the villagers who lost their children and loved ones. Only the government is feigning ignorance.
According to the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP), the arbitrary classification of radioactive wastes radically differs from the latest International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) classification of radioactive wastes. It further says the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has arbitrarily set its own safety standards for radiation exposure, which is not in accordance with international standards. The AELB standards would be used to exempt and clear Lynas’ radioactive wastes for reuse and recycle. The exposure to radioactive waste was one of the causes that led to high levels of lead poisoning and other severe health complications of the people in Bukit Merah.
The severe illnesses were detected years after the Asian Rare Earth factory had started its operations. Are we going to repeat this? And what does the panel propose in terms of monitoring the health of the people, screening for potential exposure to radiation, follow-ups, the team of experts who would be at the disposal of the public and also determine who gets screened and tested? The crushing of ore also releases Radon, which can travel thousands of miles according to wind direction. Does this mean special arrangements would be put in place to monitor all Malaysians?
Without giving much thought to the process of monitoring the health of the people, ruling politicians have jumped on the bandwagon to parrot prime minister NajibTunRazak’s assurance that the factory is safe. International Trade and Industry minister Mustapa Mohamed said its policy would be based on laws, policies and the decision of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB). Its about time the learned minister acknowledges that the lives of millions of people cannot be based on procedures.
I challenge the panel to answer this question – Can everyone of you say, without any doubt, that the Lynas plant poses no health threat to the people? Can you vouch that we would not see another repeat of the health disaster which happened in Bukit Merah?
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