1 Syaaban 1432H - The independent” expert panel of IAEA (IAEA Panel) has released its report to the public yesterday.

Save Malaysia said earlier that there won’t be any surprises when the report recommended further measures to strengthen the safety measures to be adopted at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant at Gebeng before Lynas is given the license to operate.

The contents of the report proved us right. It also vindicated our stand not to submit any memorandum to the IAEA panel earlier on during its sittings in Hyatt Kuantan as we were of the opinion that the scope of reference under which it was to operate would not do justice to the issue of LAMP.

Though the IAEA Panel has made 11 recommendation to be fulfilled by Lynas before it can start to operate, we are still of the opinion that the LAMP should not have been built in the first place. We still maintain the stand that it should not be allowed to operate anywhere in Malaysia and not just at Gebeng!

We know that the LAMP is sited in a reclaimed swamp and today it is still surrounded by swamps. The IAEA report did not take into consideration the nature of its site. Studies by other factories occupying the area has found that the water table level is hardly 1 meter below the surface. With such a waterlogged area, it definitely is NOT the place to site a factory that produces radioactive wastes in such large quantities and have it stored next to the factory. This is one area the IAEA report did not cover as the panel of experts were “whisked through the factory in a single morning, partly because of security concerns about protesters outside the refinery gates” (according to the NY Times.)

The IAEA panel came to the conclusion that not enough information were made available to the stakeholders and there was lack of public involvement in monitoring potential radiological impacts on the people and the environment.

It also underlined the low level of trust by the public on the competence , integrity and impartiality of AELB. It commented that ‘there was a clear indication from the public submissions that information was hard to find and that the mainly one way communications did not meet the increased information needs of the public.’

The RIA report was prepared by Nuclear Malaysia based on data supplied by Lynas. This is totally unacceptable as there is an obvious conflict of interests. Just as in the recent report by New York Times, engineers who had worked in the construction of LAMP had revealed that there are design flaws and non compliance of good engineering practices. And all these issues were not addressed specifically in the IAEA Report.

All these discrepancies have put the entire population of Gebeng, Balok, Kemaman and Kuantan at greater risks to exposure of hazardous radioactive wastes.

We called upon the government to investigate the veracity of the NYT report and to put a stop to the LAMP project before irreparable threats to health and economic disasters descend upon the people here.

-- By Steve Hang, Save Malaysia.

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