KUALA LUMPUR: The Lynas rare earth plant in Pahang will be allowed to operate only if the company complies with all recommendations made by the independent review panel appointed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
International Trade and Industry Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria said the company had to meet all “conditions”.
“We will follow the recommendations (by the IAEA panel) to the T,” she said during a media briefing yesterday.
The nine-member IAEA panel did not find any instances of non-compliance with international radiation safety standards at the Lynas project by Australia's Lynas Corp Ltd.
Members of the panel who were in Malaysia from May 29 until June 3 had visited the construction site as well as received submissions from concerned stakeholders including residents' associations, non-governmental organisations, professional bodies and political parties.
The panel, consisting of experts in disciplines related to radiological health and safety, submitted its report to the Government yesterday.
The ongoing construction of the RM700mil rare earth oxides plant by Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Lynas Corporation Australia, at the Gebeng Industrial Estate had sparked controversy due to concerns it would emit radiation detrimental to public health.
The IAEA panel identified 11 issues where it said improvements were necessary.
Among others, it recommended that Malaysia's Atomic Energy Licencing Board (AELB) require Lynas to submit, before the start of operations, a plan setting out its intended approach to long-term waste management, in particular the management of the water leach purification (WLP) solids after the closure of the plant.
The report said Lynas should address issues such as future land use (determined in consultation with stakeholders) and safety functions containment, isolation and retardation.
Sta Maria declined to comment on a New York Times report yesterday which alleged that the Lynas project in Pahang was plagued by environmentally hazardous construction and design problems.
In Kuantan, the Stop Lynas committee chairman Tan Bun Teet said the IAEA panel's findings would not deter opponent groups from rejecting the plant.
“The committee will continue with its stand to stop any party from setting up hazardous industries in Malaysia. We hope the Government will eventually come to terms with the people's decision that we do not want the plant here,” he said yesterday.
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