Lynas waste: more info needed on W.Australia's refusal - Dr Wan Azizah

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (Bernama) -- The government requires more information on Western Australia’s reported refusal to accept radioactive waste from Lynas' rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

“We need to discuss with the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC),” she told reporters at the parliament building here today.

Yesterday a local news portal reported Western Australia’s Minister of Mining, Petroleum, Energy and Industry Relations, Bill Johnston as saying that Australia would not accept such waste back from overseas although he acknowledged that the best means of disposal was to its place of origin.

Last month, MESTECC deputy minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis disclosed that minister Yeo Bee Yin had on Feb 26 sent a letter to Australia for cooperation in ensuring that the waste from Lynas was returned to Western Australia.

The ministry wants the country to help find a way to facilitate disposing of the Water Leach Purification (WLP) residue, which was supposed to be sent to Australia before September as part of the company's licensing requirements.

Besides WLP, the Lynas plant also produces non-radioactive neutralisation underflow (NUF). As of December 2018, WLP waste accumulated at the Lynas facility is 451,564 metric tons while NUF waste, 1.113 million metric tons.

Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah said when asked about oversupply of food distributed to the homeless around the capital which inevitably go to waste, she called on the non-governmental organisations involved not to focus on one place to do charity. 

"We do not want to encourage wastage during the fasting month or non fasting months; it’s one of the issues we have to manage. That's why we have a food bank and do not want to waste.

“If possible, distribute to other places where it is needed. Don’t concentrate only in one place. Look for those in in mosques and places where such food is not available,” she said.




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