Lynas’ waste plans a toxic pipe dream Aliran, 19 December 2012 by Wendy Bacon ” ……While Lynas says it is confident in the current by-product plans, they are yet to be tested. Dr Peter Karamoskas, who has been a nuclear radiologist for 13 years and represents the Australian public on the Radiation Safety Committee of Australia’s nuclear safety agency, shares none of that confidence.
Speaking on his own behalf, Karamoskas said that to be safe more than a million tons of WLP residue with a radioactive reading of 6Bq have to be mixed with five times the amount of aggregate to reduce its reading to 1Bq. While he said that a similar process had been used in the Netherlands, the waste was far less radioactive, sitting near 1Bq, which is the threshold for safety.
Karamoskas said it has never been used with material with the Lamp WLP reading of 6Bq. He says that it is extremely unlikely to be a long term solution from a safety or economic point of view: “If this was all ready to go they would be trumpeting it in the public arena … already it looks slippery. If this was possible wouldn’t most countries around the world be doing it?” He thinks it is extremely unlikely that the road mix could be imported, other than to a country with “lax standards” because it would breach international best practice standards. Read more »
The IAEA also recommended that Lynas proceed no further until it had filed comprehensive plans for the permanent disposal of waste, decommissioning of the plant and remediation of the site at the end of its life.
Lynas’ waste plans a toxic pipe dream Aliran, 19 December 2012 Scientists and community leaders are concerned about radioactive waste from Lynas’ Malaysian plant but the company representative who took Wendy Bacon’s questions brushed off the criticism. This is the second of two articles about Lynas by Wendy Bacon.Read the first here.http://aliran.com/11005.html
Australian rare earth company Lynas has always known it had a waste problem.
It plans to process rare earth concentrate, imported from its mine at Mount Weld in Western Australia, at its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) in Malaysia. It will not only produce rare earths for export but also a huge amount of waste, including more than a million cubic metres of low level radioactive material. Read more »
Lynas’ waste plans a toxic pipe dream Aliran, 19 December 2012 Scientists and community leaders are concerned about radioactive waste from Lynas’ Malaysian plant but the company representative who took Wendy Bacon’s questions brushed off the criticism. This is the second of two articles about Lynas by Wendy Bacon “………Shutting down the critics
New Matilda asked to interview Lynas Executive Chairperson Nick Curtis but he was not available. Instead we interviewed a Lynas spokesperson who insists that the waste products of the Lamp project are “not hazardous in any way”. He refers to the safety record of Lynas which in “all of its constructions … has been achieved with zero lost time injury”.
When New Matilda suggested that problems are more likely to arise in the long term, even 20 or 30 years away, he replied: “I would be lying if I categorically tell you there is no risk in 20 or 30 years time from anything. What I can tell you is that the unanimous conclusion of all of the scientific experts from all of the different organisations that have investigated this material and everything else is that there will be no discernible risk for the public or anyone else from this facility.”
But this is far from true.
For example, in April this year, the National Toxic Network (NTN), a community-based network “working to ensure a toxic-free future for all”, published a preliminary assessment of the waste steam of Lynas’s Lamp project. It was prepared by Lee Bell, a qualified environmental scientist with 20 years experience in analysis of industrial process plants, groundwater monitoring and contaminated sites. He co-chaired the Core Consultative Committee on Waste under the former Labor government in Western Australia, which reformed the state’s hazardous waste sector. Readers of his 29 page NTN report (pdf), which was reviewed by another scientist, are likely to be concerned about the company’s environmental plans.
I asked Lynas’ spokesperson about the NTN report: “Whatever you think of it, it [the report] is a solid document. It appears to be academically referenced and it also appears to have had some form of review. If you read it, on a number of scores, you would be concerned?”…..
The Lynas spokesman rejected an NTN claim that Lamp’s location on a reclaimed swamp with a high rainfall is relevant to disposal of low level radioactive waste. Asked if he was aware it was a “marshy site”, he said, “I have no idea”. He explained that although there is a pristine fishing village and beach at Kuantan three and a half kilometres away on the coast, “if there is a risk there, it is much wider than just Lynas because the Lamp is in a petrochemical zone”. In fact, the site is on a reclaimed peat swamp……..http://aliran.com/11018.html
” there will be no discernible risk for the public or anyone else from this facility.”
But this is far from true.
Lynas’ waste plans a toxic pipe dream Aliran, 19 December 2012 Scientists and community leaders are concerned about radioactive waste from Lynas’ Malaysian plant but the company representative who took Wendy Bacon’s questions brushed off the criticism. “…….
New Matilda asked to interview Lynas Executive Chairperson Nick Curtis but he was not available. Instead we interviewed a Lynas spokesperson who insists that the waste products of the Lamp project are “not hazardous in any way”. Read more »
Lynas’ waste plans a toxic pipe dream Aliran, 19 December 2012 Scientists and community leaders are concerned about radioactive waste from Lynas’ Malaysian plant but the company representative who took Wendy Bacon’s questions brushed off the criticism. ”……Discrediting sources is a familiar public relations tactic used by companies to protect themselves against journalists relying on their critics as sources. So NM asked if the company had prepared a response to the NTN report. The spokesperson said it had but it was “unfortunately contained material before a [Malaysian] court and I can’t share that with you”.
The NTN report deals with Lamp waste steams which include non radioactive fluoride, dust particulates, gas, acidic waste water as well as more than 22000 tonnes of low level Water Leach Purification (WLP) radioactive waste which a year. The most critical issue is the control and disposal of the WLP wastes — which for radioactive material may mean for many hundreds of years.
On the basis of specific criticisms, NTN has two main recommendations. First, that the temporary licence issued by the AELB should be revoked until the issue of long term waste disposal is resolved and second, that the plant should not be allowed to operate until the release of millions of litres of effluent into the Balok River that runs past the site has been “further modelled and assessed”.
“The lack of data on these issues (the impact on the river) means the Lynas EIA is well below international standards and insufficient for granting of operational licences,” theNTN says; the Lamp temporary licence would never have been granted in Australia…….http://aliran.com/11018.html
Lynas will be in court in Malaysia on 19 December. The Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) campaignerswill be appealing against the Kuantan High Court decision to lift its stay on the company being able to exercise its rights to proceed under the temporary licence.
The toxic waste that’s not in Australia’s backyard http://aliran.com/11005.html 18 Dec 12, Australian-owned company Lynas is quietly shipping rare earth to a processing plant in Malaysia – without a firm plan in place to dispose of dangerous radioactive waste. Wendy Bacon reports.
If a manufacturing plant involving radioactive materials moved into your community, one of the first things you would ask is, “what’s going to happen to the waste?”
This is exactly how residents of Kuantan on Malaysia’s east coast reacted when the Australian company Lynas announced plans to build Lamp, the world’s biggest rare earth processing plant in their area.
Several years later, they have no clear answer. Indeed last week, while the plant that will use concentrate imported from Lynas’s rare earth mine at Mount Weld in Western Australia was finally ramping up for production, the Malaysian government and the company were in direct conflict about what would happen to the waste. Read more »
Ten months have passed, and a safe permanent depository has yet to be identified and agreed upon by all parties. Instead Lynas is still talking of rendering the waste “safe”. Read more »
The rally is a culmination of a 13-day march against the plant’s opening
Kuala Lumpur: 10,000 protest rare earth plant over health concerns Environmental activist group Himpunan Hijau organized the rally against the opening of rare earth company Lynas’ new plant. Global Post,Talia Ralph November 25, 2012 early 10,000 people took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur Sunday to protest the opening of Australia-based mining company Lynas’ new rare earth plant. Read more »
Lynas rare earths company trying to overturn Western Australia law against importing radioactive wastes
Lynas left holding the baby, Aliran, 14 September 2012 If Lynas Corporation thinks that Western Australia will take its radioactive waste, it can think again, asserts Robin Chapple. Lynas has now submitted an application to the regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), to import radioactive waste from Malaysia,” an Australian High Commission spokesman told The Malaysian Insider today.
This revelation beggars belief as just a few days ago a two-year temporary licence to operate was granted to Lynas, who intend to ship radioactive ores through Fremantle Port to export them to their plant in Malaysia, now seem to be asserting that they should be able to import the wastes of those ores back onto Australian soil.
Malaysia’s nuclear regulator Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had said that the Australian miner was legally bound to remove radioactive waste from its Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) and return the residue to Australia under conditions of the temporary operating licence.
However, this news flies in the face of Australian government policy, and indeed Western Australian legislation, which asserts that Australia does not accept or import radioactive waste from other countries.
Robin Chapple MLC, Greens spokesperson for Mining Issues, commented on Lynas’ recent move: “It seems that again Lynas thinks it is outside the law as it is operating in Malaysia, and may be subject to less rigorous legal scrutiny. Well, it isn’t, and if it thinks that Western Australia will take this radioactive waste, it can think again.
“It didn’t consult with community on shipping its radioactive ores through Fremantle port, and it certainly hasn’t consulted on shipping back the radioactive waste. The WA Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 1999 prohibits it here. Period!
But really, you have to laugh. Lynas has now been tripped up by its own lack of willingness to take heed of Australia’s expectations with respect to sustainable mining and environmental, social and legal standards, and hasn’t it got it’s come-uppance. Talk about being left holding the baby!… http://aliran.com/10198.html
The world will witness one of the biggest civil disobedience events in this nation”
Mr Ibrahim has demanded that Australians ”hear the frustrations of Malaysians” over the project.
First Weld war looms – Malaysians mobilise to fight Lynas plant, The Age, September 13, 202 Lindsay MurdochACTIVISTS are planning a multi-pronged attack to try to stop the Australian miner Lynas Corp opening a rare earths
processing plant in Malaysia.
Opposition parties, led by Anwar Ibrahim, are also planning to make the $230 million plant a key issue of the country’s national elections, which must be held by April next year. They have vowed to shut the plant if they oust the government. Read more »
Protests Promised Over License for Malaysia Rare Earth Plant NYT, By LIZ GOOCH KUALA , 6 Sept, LUMPUR — Activists who have waged a lengthy campaign against a rare earth refinery in Malaysia refused to back down Thursday after the authorities gave the Australian company behind the project the green light to proceed.
One group has vowed to blockade the port in the Malaysian town of Kuantan, near the plant, if the company, Lynas, tries to import raw earth materials from Australia.
“We are prepared to paralyze the whole port until the raw materials leave our port,” said Wong Tack, chairman of the group, Himpunan Hijau. “The world will witness one of the biggest civil disobedience events in this nation.”…. Lynas said that it would address the “principal cause of the community anxiety” — what to do with the radioactive byproducts from the plant — by turning the material into “processed co-products” for use mainly in manufacturing, like materials for roads and buildings. The materials would be exported, the company said. The company’s statement did not say to which countries it might export the products……
activists are not satisfied that the plant, estimated to cost 2.5 billion ringgit, or $802 million, will be safe.
“We will not allow an ounce of raw material to reach our shores,” said Mr. Wong, adding that Himpunan Hijau would recruit “thousands of people” to block the port 24 hours a day when the raw earth material arrived.
“We need to send the strongest warning to Lynas — don’t even dream about operation. This is an all-out war,” he said.
Another group, Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, said it was considering filing for a court injunction to try to stop the plant from operating.
Tan Bun Teet, the group’s chairman, said Save Malaysia Stop Lynas had already obtained leave from the courts for a judicial review of both the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s approval of the temporary operating license and of the decision by the minister of science, technology and innovation not to revoke the license.
He insisted that the board should have waited for the outcome of those judicial reviews before issuing the license…… The committee’s findings — that Lynas should receive the license because it had fulfilled legal provisions and standards more stringent than international standards — were dismissed by activists who claimed the committee was an attempt to “whitewash” the issue. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/business/global/protests-promised-over-license-for-malaysia-rare-earth-plant.html?_r=1
The Temporary Operating License will only be issued after Lynas fulfils two new conditions imposed
AELB: Lynas committed to returning radioactive waste to AustraliaThe Malaysian Insider By Lisa J. Ariffin June 28, DENGKIL, June 28 — Lynas is committed to return all potentially harmful waste from its rare earths plant here to Australia despite its government’s firm refusal to take it in, Malaysia’s radiation regulator said today.
The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) told reporters today the Australian miner would have to send home all residue that could not be turned into commercial products or if a location for a permanent disposal facility (PDF) here could not be determined or approved.
“Lynas will have 10 months to come up with a permanent disposal facility plan for its radioactive residue upon receiving its temporary operating license (TOL),” said Dr Noor Hasnah Mohamed Khairullah who is special adviser to the AELB director-general.
“If they fail to find a location for the PDF, or if the plan is not approved, then Lynas has to return the residues back to Australia. Read more »
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. Read more »
“The two conditions are flimsy and general in nature. They are not specific enough and will in no way safeguard or appease the fears of residents living in the area,”
The group plans to challenge the government decision in court …
.. The ministry said the refinery would only be allowed to operate once Lynas complies with all the requirements, including the two extra conditions…… the government review has blocked the company from bringing in raw material.
Malaysia imposes 2 more conditions on controversial rare earth plant by Australian miner,Washington Post, By Associated Press, June 14, KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s government has imposed two new conditions on a rare earth refinery set up by Australian miner Lynas to assuage public fears of radioactive pollution. Read more »
the expanding protest movement …… has already delayed the project by eight months and cast a shadow over its future.
The resistance – fed by social networks and Malaysia’s increasingly lively independent online media – also raises broader questions over the global expansion of an industry that has created huge environmental problems in China
Opponents say the Lynas plant doesn’t meet with best practice standards for the industry as it is too close to heavily populated areas and in a place where the ground water level is high. Molycorp’s plant in California, by comparison, is situated far from residential areas in an arid climate.
Citizen backlash keeps Malaysia rare earth plant on hold, The West, Siva Sithraputhran, Reuters May 9, 2012 GEBENG, Malaysia - The expensive machinery lies silent, idling as Malaysia’s government weighs a delicate decision to allow shipments of raw material to arrive from Australia and finally start operations at the world’s largest rare earths plant outside China. Read more »
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