Lynas Malaysia: Our residue is Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material

PETALING JAYA: Lynas Malaysia today maintained that its water leached purification (WLP) residue is Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM).

It said statements by Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) are false and ignore scientific fact.

“WLP contains low level, naturally occurring radionuclides, and the lanthanide concentrate (feedstock material) processed at the Lynas Malaysia plant has the same low level of NORM as the WLP residue,” its general manager in charge of radiation safety, regulations and compliance, Prof Dr Ismail Bahari, said in a statement.

“There is no technological enhancement of the low level, naturally occurring radionuclides (Thorium and Uranium). This was confirmed by the Pakatan Harapan government’s Review Committee, appointed by the MESTECC Minister in 2018.”

WLP is also classified as NORM by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international scientific benchmark for radiation safety, he said.

The IAEA Safety Standard for protecting people and the environment (GSR Part 5, 2009) advocates “dilute and disperse” as one of the principal ways radioactive waste can be managed.

“The government’s Review Committee found Lynas Malaysia’s operations are low risk, compliant with relevant regulations, and that residue storage facilities are operated in a proper manner,” Ismail said.

“These findings are consistent with several independent and scientific reviews, including by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

He said all assessments of Lynas Malaysia’s operations should be based on scientific facts and evidence from qualified experts, not unsupported assertions by unqualified people.