Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Lynas rare earths plant in Malaysia to go ahead without plan for long term disposal of radioactive wastes?

 why are we talking about a storage facility in Malaysia when it was made clear that one of the prerequisite to the Temporary Operating License or TOL is that the waste be shipped back to Western Australia?

The Australian government reiterated that it will not accept responsibility for any waste material produced by Lynas, although one of the five conditions attached to the recent approval of its temporary operating license is that it must take full responsibility for waste management from its plant including returning the waste to the source, if necessary.

But in a media briefing, AELB director-general, Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, gave his assurance that the board would insist on a letter of undertaking from Lynas Australia that it would adhere to this condition.

TOL sell-out by PSC: The final smirk from Lynas Malaysia Chronicle,  by  Charles Santiago, 19 June 12,  We welcome the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee which has produced its recommendations, including the upgrading of the standards used by the AELB. But while we appreciate the effort, this is clearly a document which has only looked at ways to keep the Lynas Advance Material Plant (LAMP) in operation.

The key area – returning the radioactive waste to Western Australia – has not been looked at although it was one of the earliest pre-conditions to the government granting Lynas a Temporary Operating License.

Violating pre-requisite to the Temporary Operating License (TOL)   Over a ten-year period of the plant’s operation, the total volume of wastes will amount to 2,766,600 cubic metro. Over a 20-year period, as Lynas continues to enjoy its tax break, the waste would presumably have doubled. And it is highly inconceivable that there will be enough soil and technology available to “dilute” the wastes and remove its radiation level to natural ground level radiation.

This is especially crucial as Lynas plans to store the wastes onside in the Residue Storage Facility (RSF). The PSC recommendation has noted that some of the regulations imposed by the Malaysian government are better than international standards.

But according to the Lynas document which is under review, the management of radioactive residue generated from the decommissioning activities of LAMP upon cessation of operations after 20 years are not within the scope of the Lynas Radioactive Waste Management Plan or RWMP but presented in a separate document titled “Decommissioning Plan (Environ 2011b). This is certainly not in tandem with international standards.

Malaysia is still in the midst of cleaning up after the Asian Rare Earth factory was decommissioned at the cost of USD100 million, the largest in the rare earth industry. The rare earth factory was set-up 30 years ago and we are yet to wipe out all traces of residue. Lynas will produce 20,000 tonne of radioactive material, ten times more than the Asian Rare earth. It is not clear if a Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) has been identified.

But the managing director for LynasDatukMashalAhamd has said that a PDF will be needed in a worst case scenario where it is unable to reprocess the waste into a commercial product. He also said – “we have 17 years before we even need to identify where is the PDF..we are working on commercial applications…

Once we find all this, we can even forget a Residue Storage Facility. Maybe DatukMashal must be reminded that we are not working on hypothesis or possibilities here because it involves the lives of tens of thousands of people. And if by commercial product, he is alluding to the testimony of Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Omar, then he better think again.

Nuclear radiologist Peter Karamoskos of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said that without exception, thorium reactors have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable, Like all nuclear power production, they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies. This was reported in The Guardian last June.

But again why are we talking about a storage facility in Malaysia when it was made clear that one of the prerequisite to the Temporary Operating License or TOL is that the waste be shipped back to Western Australia?

The Australian government reiterated that it will not accept responsibility for any waste material produced by Lynas, although one of the five conditions attached to the recent approval of its temporary operating license is that it must take full responsibility for waste management from its plant including returning the waste to the source, if necessary. In an official statement, the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Norman Moore, asserted that “Australia does not support the importation and storage of other countries’ radioactive waste”.

But in a media briefing, AELB director-general, Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, gave his assurance that the board would insist on a letter of undertaking from Lynas Australia that it would adhere to this condition. So where is the consistency in the approach the government has taken in relations to Lynas? It is clear the UMNO-led government is doing everything possible to allow Lynas to start its operations…..

. The final smirk from Lynas It’s rather strange that Lynas enjoyed operating from its premises – getting its structures concretised and putting together its logistics – while the Parliamentary Select Committee was plugging away at its report. It really does not make any sense but rather gave an impression that the recommendations of the committee would have no bearings whatsoever to the plant. Lynas, it seems, almost knew it would not be shut down however damning is the information unearthed by the committee. This is precisely why the opposition felt it was a total waste of time to sit on the panel. When Malaysia, disregarding once again the strong protests registered by the people, rejected a bid to cancel the Temporary Operating License for Lynas, its share advanced as much as 15 cents (Australian) to A$1.01, the biggest gain since May 28 this year. But in doing so and allowing Lynas to start its operations, the government has nonchalantly dismissed the value of peoples’ lives which are at stake. http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=35142:tol-sell-out-by-psc-the-final-smirk-from-lynas&Itemid=2

June 22, 2012 - Posted by | politics international, rare earths, uranium, Western Australia

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