Malaysian Atomic Board to Invite Experts to Check Lynas Plant

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The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) of Malaysia is poised to invite international observers to come over Malaysia to help the board come up with the most appropriate project to monitor the supposed radiation emissions of the highly debated rare earths processing plant of Lynas Corp. in Gebeng, Kuantan, Malaysia.

This could well be in addition to an already existing airborne monitoring system ( AMS ) installed by the AELB in Kuantan early this year and at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng last year. The one in Kuantan is placed at the district police station there.

"An evaluation panel consisting of the AELB, the Ministry of Health and the Department of Environment will select one or more observers to propose the best method to monitor the project," the Bernama quoted Datuk Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, AELB director-general, as saying.


The AMS, according to The New Straits Times, quoting an unidentified spokesperson from Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd, will enable the Malaysian public to better grasp, understand and compare the supposed radiation emissions occurring at both the areas where the LAMP facility and the district police station are.

The AMS uses readings applying the Sv (sievert) symbol for dose equivalent radiation, where 1 millisievert is equivalent to 0.001 Sv, while a microsievert is equal 0.000001 Sv. The Sievert symbol, The New Straits Times said, assesses "the biological effects of ionising radiation as opposed to just the absorbed dose of radiation energy."

The AMS will help the people understand that the radiation levels was well below the safe limit of 1millisievert (mSv) per annum for humans, the Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd spokesperson said.

On Jan. 30, amid intense emotional debates and fierce protests, the AELB approved Lynas Corp. a temporary operating licence ( TOL ) effectively enabling it to operate the LAMP, but with stringent conditions. Among the requirements imposed before the actual TOL is issued is that the Australian rare earths miner is required to submit a plan detailing a permanent disposal facility.

The rare earth processing plant in Gebeng has yet to operate pending the submission of the plan.

Residents have opposed the plant's existence, disregarding potential economic contributions to the town in particular and to the Malaysia as a whole, as they claimed the plant's radiation emissions will ultimately render disastrous not only to the people living in Gebeng but to the entire province as well.

Opponents to the LAMP project, however, failed to come up with hard evidence to support their radiation claims at the time Lynas Corp.'s documents were presented for public viewing and consultation, prompting the AELB eventually to issue the TOL to Lynas Corp.

"Let me stress that the TOL approved by the AELB is for a period of two years. If the AELB is not satisfied during the period, we can stop Lynas operation immediately. The TOL has to be renewed after the expiry date," Adnan said.

The Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd spokesperson said the AELBperforms daily monitoring of background radiation levels at 30 locations around Gebeng and the Lynas site, results of which are published on its website at http://www.aelb.gov.my/ aelb/malay/teks/lynas_datamonitor.asp.

Meanwhile, Lynas Corp. denied it had received an order from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend exporting its rare earths from Mount Weld to the LAMP facility in Malaysia.

"There was no directive from the EPA to stop the export of rare earth concentrate... We did not receive any," Andrew Arnold, general counsel of Lynas Corp., told The Free Malaysia Today.

The Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd spokesperson corroborated this, saying the rare earth processing plant in Gebeng "has yet to operate and none of the raw material has been brought here," The New Straits Times reported.

Read more:

Group Alleges Lynas to Ignore Malaysia's Import Suspension Order of Rare Earths

Malaysian Rare Earths Processing Plant Was A "Business Decision" - Lynas Counsel



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.




This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AMS , TOL

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