KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 – Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh has asked Lynas to stop bullying locals and send its radioactive waste back to Australia after a report showed that it had contaminated ground water with cancerous materials.
“On behalf of the Kuantan people, I say please stop bullying us. Send your waste back,” she said.
She said that radioactive waste from the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) has harmed her constituency and its people.
Fuziah added that she has consistently insisted that the radioactive waste should not have been allowed to be kept at the factory site as it is harmful to the environment and the people’s health.
She said this was proven when the executive committee report on the operations of the LAMP published on Tuesday (Dec 4) noted that there is an increase of heavy metal concentrations such as nickel, chromium, lead and mercury in ground water.
Fuziah added that nickel and chromium were substances that could trigger cancer and added that the report proved that the storage of radioactive waste at the LAMP site has contaminated ground water.
“I am angry, sad and disappointed. Imagine, for so long we have allowed them to store their waste on-site and now it is proven that their waste has migrated into the water.
“Based on the report by the review committee, I fear for the people.
“We don’t want (to wait) 20 years down the road and then suddenly we say there is an increase in cancer. Who will pay for it?,” she told reporters in a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday (Dec 5).
She stressed that Lynas must keep its promise made in 2012 to send the residue from its rare earth plant in Gebeng here back to Australia.
Since the plant was given the temporary operating licence (TOL) and allowed to operate in 2012, it has yet to set up a site for a permanent disposal facility (PDF) to dispose of the radioactive residue.
“The review committee managed to do the finding because there was a baseline study in 2007 where the (nickel concentration) reading was very low and there was a jump after Lynas began its operations,” she said, adding that there is risk of radioactive waste leaching into the ground when kept in open storage.
“They should send the waste back to Australia immediately. The monsoon season is here and there will be a lot of rain,” Fuziah said.
On Wednesday (Dec 5), it was reported that Lynas is considering legal action after the Environment, Science, Technology and Climate Change Ministry added new conditions to licence renewals for its US$800 million (RM 3.3mil) plant in Malaysia.
The conditions explicitly state that residues should be recycled, and if that fails, then they should be sorted in a permanent disposal facility.
“Lynas today wants to sue the government and (falsely) claims that the review committee says its operations are safe.
“The review committee spotted the issues and highlighted them but Lynas chose to highlight the first page of the report.
“We can’t say that it’s safe because today Lynas says that is. The precautionary principles must apply. People (must come) before profit.