KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh today said Malaysia must insist that Australia accepts the radioactive waste from Lynas Corp’s rare earth processing plant in Pahang.
The lawmaker was responding to a report by finance portal Australian Financial Review, which had said that Western Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston will not accept refuse waste from the Lynas plant in Malaysia.
“The lesson to be learned is that Australia has shortchanged Malaysia in the name of investment.
“Should the situation arise where there is no solution for the present waste as well as for the future water-leached purification (WLP) waste to be generated, then our country will have no choice but to not renew the operating license,” Fuziah was quoted saying in online news portal The Malaysian Insight.
She asserted that the waste could not be recycled nor should it be spread out over several locations, as suggested by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the alternative should Australia refuse to take it back.
The member of parliament also cited the pre-condition set by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin.
“Even though it is low-level radiation waste, it has a very long life. The half-life of thorium in the WLP is 14 billion years.
“The best practice is to send it back to the mine. This is the pre-condition set by Yeo on the renewal of the license,” Fuziah said, pointing out that Lynas has not built a permanent disposal facility (PDF) site to dispose of the radioactive residue since it was given the temporary operating license (TOL) in 2012.
Yeo has previously announced that she will meet Australian minister Johnston on June 20 to discuss Lynas-related issues.