Govt to review Lynas proposal to continue condisoil R&D

Lynas will continue with condisoil R&D while waiting for the permanent disposal facility in Bukit Ketam to be completed.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will review the proposal for Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd to continue research and development of water-leached purification (WLP) residue as condisoil (a soil conditioner) for agricultural use.

However, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the decision was subject to approval by the Cabinet, adding that the ministry would stick with plans to move the waste to a permanent disposal facility (PDF) if the R&D failed to be commercialised.

“The decision by the Cabinet on Feb 12 and 19 is that Lynas must end all R&D activities relating to the use of WLP residue as condisoil in agriculture. But during the time we are waiting for the PDF to be completed, we can continue with the R&D,” he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

“If the R&D finds that WLP waste can be used as condisoil – not dangerous, not radioactive or have other effects – then there is nothing wrong with continuing the effort.”

Khairy was replying to a supplementary question from Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman (PAS-Kuala Krai) on whether the ministry plans to reactivate the R&D on Lynas, which could have the potential to be commercialised for use in the agriculture sector.

Earlier, replying to a question from Wong Tack (PH-Bentong) on the site that had been approved for the Lynas PDF, Khairy said the Pahang government had given the green light for a 202.35ha multi-category scheduled industrial waste disposal site at Bukit Ketam in Mukim Kuala Kuantan and was in the process of gazetting it.

He said the state government had also approved Lynas’ application to build the PDF in any part of the industrial waste disposal site, using only 12ha or 6% of the total area that will be gazetted.

“In its meeting on July 28, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) approved the proposed site, subject to approval of the Radiological Impact Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment studies as well as other relevant requirements of the local authorities.

“The reports of all the studies must be presented to the local authorities for assessment before approval to build the PDF is issued by the AELB,” he said.

On when the PDF site can be used for development purposes, Khairy referred to the 300-year institutional control set by the AELB for the Asean Rare Earth’s Bukit Kledang repository in Ipoh.

“It was 300 years of institutional control at the repository in Bukit Kledang for the Asean Rare Earth Thorium radioactive material. So, for Lynas, we will also refer to our experience in Bukit Kledang,” he said.