Thursday, April 28, 2011

CM promises no nuclear facility in Penang

The Penang state government will ensure there will not be any nuclear facility or rare earth mines in the state in the interest of public health and safety, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

He said Pakatan Rakyat-led states have taken a firm and uncompromising stand against rare-earth refineries and mines.

"PR states like Penang have even gone a step further by writing to the federal government opposing any proposed nuclear energy facility to be located in the state.

"The state government had written to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin on March 21 to oppose the building of a nuclear plant in Malaysia. It had also affirmed the ban on any such facility in the state," he said this in a statement.

Lim said Chin had replied to him on April 20, saying it was unlikely that any such nuclear facility would be built in Penang due to the high population density.

"However, he stated the BN government’s determination to proceed with the building of the nuclear plants by 2020 elsewhere in Malaysia."

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, added that in the light of the nuclear disaster in a highly-advanced country like Japan, the BN government should not proceed with the plan here.

"How can BN be trusted to ensure the safety and health standards of such a dangerous and high risk project like nuclear plant when it cannot build a stadium without its roof collapsing or the roof of Parliament leaking?" he added.

He also said he was shocked to find out online that the Perak state government had secretly agreed to allow a Hong Kong company to explore and mine for rare earths in the state.

"In an April 18 filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, CVM Minerals Limited announced it had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Perak State Development Corporation (PSDC) to carry out the project in Bukit Merah.

"The company, through its local subsidiary CVM Metal Recycle Sdn Bhd, has applied to the state’s land and mineral office for a licence to explore the area, covering 250 hectares," he said.

He added that Bukit Merah is the site of Malaysia’s last rare earths plant 20 years ago, which was still undergoing a massive RM300 million clean-up.

"Once the licence is granted, CVM Minerals and PSDC would enter into an agreement setting out the terms and conditions of their participation in the project.

"According to the proposed joint-venture, CVM Minerals would be the major shareholder while PSDC would control 135,300,000 shares of CVM Minerals, approximately 4.73% of the entire issued share capital.”

Lim said environmentalists questioned the radioactive waste being produced and stored at the Lynas plant, fearing a repeat of the Japanese-owned Mitsubishi Chemical’s Asian Rare Earth plant which has been linked to eight cases of leukaemia, seven resulting in death.

The federal government had recently announced a one-month review of the nearly completed Lynas plant following health and safety concerns.

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