Lynas submits another EIA report on disposal facility after earlier one rejected

KUANTAN: Following the rejection of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its proposed permanent disposal facility (PDF) earlier this year, Lynas Malaysia has submitted another report on the PDF, this time to be built in the Gebeng Industrial Estate.

The report, which is available on the Environment Department’s (DOE) website, states that the PDF would be constructed on approximately 25.25ha of land adjacent to the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) situated about 30m away.

Gading Senggara Sdn Bhd is again the project proponent, with the project expected to be completed in five years from 2022 to 2026.

Insufficient storage capacity at LAMP’s residue storage facility (RSD) to cater to the 1.6 million tonnes of water leach purification (WLP) residue was one of the statements of need outlined in the report.

Among the components of the proposed PDF were four cells to contain the WLP residue, detention pond to retain surface water runoff prior to discharge to external drainage, effluent treatment plant (ETP) to treat the percolated and contaminated runoff and WLP lagoon to receive and contain surface runoff from uncapped WLP cell prior to treatment at the ETP.

The report stated that potential impacts on water quality during operations could be contaminated surface runoffs that might carry suspended WLP residues comprising radionuclides and other significant parameters of concern.

“A proper stormwater management system at the PDF cells will be established on site. WLP lagoon and an ETP will be constructed to ensure no direct discharge of contaminated surface runoff will occur,” it said.

As for the radiological impact of the PDF cells, it was expected to be similar to the RSF at LAMP, said the report.

“The operation of the PDF cells is not expected to increase the environmental external radiation level. Generally, there will be no significant difference in the radioactivity level in airborne dust, soil, surface water and groundwater,” it said.

Regardless, the PDF cells, WLP lagoon, wash trough and ETP areas must be barricaded and classified as “Radiation Control Areas”, said the report.

“The project proponent must appoint a radiation protection officer and a radioactive waste management officer who shall carry out duties and responsibilities prescribed by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB).

“The project proponent must also develop and implement Radiation Safety Policy, programmes, procedures and instructions. Proper best management practices must be implemented in transportation and emplacement of WLP residue in the PDF cells including having AELB-approved trucks and competent drivers managing the activity,” said the report.

In conclusion, the report stated that the proposed development might not cause any significant impacts on the environment as evidenced by the existing activities at RSF LAMP, which were similar to that at the WLP PDF, 30m away.

“However, the project proponent is advised to commit to implementing all mitigating measures proposed so that this development will be conducted sustainably and managed properly to safeguard the environment and local communities,” said the report.

The EIA report would be displayed until Nov 10 and the public could give their feedback through a link on the DOE’s website until Nov 25.

Lynas’ original plan was to build the PDF on 58.25ha of land in Bukit Ketam, Mukim Kuala Kuantan here but the EIA for this initial plan was rejected by the DOE in April.

Deputy Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim explained in the Dewan Rakyat recently that the Bukit Ketam site was no longer considered for the project as the forest reserve status of the area had not been resolved.

Ahmad said delays on the construction of a PDF were granted by the government to Lynas until March next year.