Q: Lynas is a nuclear plant
A: Lynas is not a nuclear plant. It is chemical plant which operates at atmospheric pressure and temperature.
Q: Lynas is the same as Asian Rare Earth (ARE)
A: There are some similarities as well as differences between Lynas and ARE. The raw material at ARE was amang while the Lynas raw material is made of rare earth concentrates. They both contain uranium and thorium. However the major difference between Lynas and ARE is that ARE raw material is 37 times more radioactive than Lynas's raw material and the ARE residue is 60 times more radioactive than what Lynas would produce.
Q: Lynas brings no benefits to Malaysia and Kuantan.
A: Lynas's FDI value is RM 2.3 bilion with annual OPEX of RM600 million. Total contracts awarded to Kuantan contractors for Phase 1 amounted to RM350 million. Anticipated contract for Kuantan contractors for Phase 2 is RM149 million.
Q: Lynas came to Malaysia to avoid strict Australian rules.
A: Malaysian law is equivalent to, if not stricter than Australia's. Malaysia's lower production costs are among factors that attract foreign investment.
Q: Atomic Energy Licensing (Radiactive Waste Management) Regulations 2011 or P.U (A) 274 legitimises what Lynas is doing and AELB is a party to this.
A: The regulations were drafted in 2001 based on the IAEA Working Material Radioactive Waste Management Model Regulations and their implementation (July 2000). The draft was reviewed by a team of IAEA experts led by Mr. Chris Weedon from United Kingdom. The Regulations had also been reviewed by the Standing and Sub-standing Safety Committees comprising groups of experts from various agencies with expertise in radioactive waste management. These regulations were approved by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation on September 2011. Lynas is subjected to these regulations.
Q: Standards used by the AELB to exempt and clear radioactive wastes for reuse and recycle.
A: P.U (A) 274 (Part IV -(Reuse and recycle of radioactive wastes): As defined in Atomic Energy Licensing (Radioactive Waste Management) Regulations, clearance level means the values established by the Board and expressed in terms of activity concentration or total activity, at or below which the source of radiation may be released from the control of the Board as specified in Second Schedule of the Regulation. Any material falling below the limit stipulated in the Regulation is considered as non-radioactive and is not controlled by the regulator.
The limit for exemption of radioactive wastes is based on the activity concentration of radionuclides as referred to in the Atomic Energy Licensing (Radioactive Waste Management) 2011 and the permissible dose limit to public as stipulated by the Atomic Energy Licensing (Basic Safety Radiation Protection) Regulations, 2010. This is in-line with recommendation ICRP 60 (1991) set by the International Commission of Radiological Protection.
Q: Lynas is taking advantage of weaknesses in Malaysian law by proposing China's standards.
A: Malaysian law is equivalent to, if not stricter than international law. Lynas is subject to the Malaysian law and must comply with international standards and good practices.
Lynas declares the residue as non-radioactive based on China's standard of 74 Bq/g Pre-operating license - what is this and what does it entail?
Under Malaysian Law, 74 Bq/g is deemed radioactive and is therefore regulated under Act 304. According to Act 304 and Radiation Protection (Licensing) Regulations 1986, the term 'Pre-operating license' is known as 'Class a milling - Temporary Operation Stage License'.
The licensee will be monitored closely and inspected frequently to ensure radiation safety of workers, the public and the environment. Among others, routine monitoring results will be evaluated before the licensee can apply for the next stage viz. a full operating license.
Q: Does the plant increase my risk of contracting cancer?
A: Cancer could be caused by a variety of factors including high radiation exposure. Even though there is no concrete evidence linking low levels of radiation to an increased risk of cancer, the very low levels of radiation exposure arising from Lynas's operation is still subject to strict radiation protection standards imposed by the AELB. This is to ensure the safety of workers, the public and the environment.