Monday, June 25, 2012

Too soon to give Lynas plant the thumbs up, says scientist

Factors such as hydrochloric acid used to process thorium ore and the waste produced at the rare earth processing plant in Lynas, Gebeng must be taken into account before the plant can be ascertained safe.

Nuclear scientist Dr Che Rosli Che Mat said although thorium ore had a low radiation and not dangerous as he himself had examined a sample, the hydrochloric acid was a strong acid and waste produced can be very dangerous to human being.

“Other than thorium ore, other factors, especially involving the plant is still not clear and to date, the plant still cannot be ascertained safe.

“We (the opposition) had voiced many questions to know the real information about Lynas but we still have not received answers,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby, here, today.

The Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp), when tabling its report in Dewan Rakyat Tuesday, recommended that a temporary operating licence (TOL) be issued to enable the factory to start operating.

Among others, the report also recommended that the factory could process raw material in stages and in limited amounts and be continuously supervised by enforcement agencies.

Che Rosli, who is also member of parliament for Hulu Langat, said the management of the waste from the plant, such as converting the waste into other materials that could be utilised, need to be taken into account.

“To recycle the waste is good, but we must take into account the amount produced and are they capable of recycling the waste, since even a little amount can endanger people?” he said.

Che Rosli then warned against labelling him a supporter of the Lynas project, and said he would take legal action if anyone did so after issuing the warning.

“Don’t say I support Lynas or (that I) say Lynas is safe, because the information available is inadequate. If they (Lynas) want to give adequate information, then we can consider whether it is really safe or otherwise,” he added.

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