Lynas plant radiation dosage readings available to public: Lynas Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: In providing online real time operational readings on the radiation dosage levels at its plant, rare earth mining company Lynas Corporation aims to dispel allegations by certain groups on its operations at the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng Pahang.

Responding to unproven reports that the plant has been piling up massive amounts of "toxic radioactive waste", Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd vice president Datuk Mashal Ahmad said the system which was established since the plant's inception four years ago has always showed the same safe readings since.

"The Aerial Measuring System (AMS) readings at the Lamp and in Kuantan are close to equal and does not impact the environment.

"While the radiation monitoring of workers since November 2012 up to today showed dose levels of less than 6 millisievert per year (mSv/y) (constraint level) or 20 mSv/y (annual dose limit)," he said during the Lynas round-table discussion with members of the media at the Le Meridian Hotel, here, today.

At press time, the readings which are available via this link: https://175.142.36.205/public/map/mapselection.php?nav=viewmap showed that radiation dosage levels at Lamp stood at 0.65 mSv/y while radiation dosage at Kuantan was at 1.19 mSv/y.

These readings according to Mashal are way below the 20 mSv/y annual dose limit set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Simply put, the radiation dosage that an individual gets from watching the cathode ray-tube (CRT) television which was popular in the 60s to the 90s is much more higher than the dosage levels at the plant.

"And these are not dangerous levels," he said.

Dispelling the common myth and allegations by certain groups, Mashal said people must be aware that they are always exposed to radiation dosage through daily activities and natural physiology.

"For example, consuming a banana leads to a small radiation dosage due its potassium content. Our bodies naturally have a small amount of radiation.

"In fact according to a study, human beings are generally exposed to natural radiation at 2 mSv/y," he added.

Mashal emphasised that the monitoring of these dosage levels are being done by third parties such as Universiti Malaysia Pahang and the Kuantan police station.

Meanwhile Lynas chief executive officer Amanda Lacaze said that the company has four years of operational data which shows there has been no increase in background radiation levels 1km, 5km,10km or 20km from the plant.

"There has been no adverse impact on the nearby residents of Kuantan or the surrounding villages and all water discharges have been measured to be safe at all times for the community," she said.

She added that Lynas had continued to provide online real time operational readings directly to the authorities which were also accessible to the public via the websites of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and the Department of Environment.