Lynas’ permanent disposal facility hits road bump after EIA rejection

Rejection comes about three months after Lynas submitted its report on Jan 26.

The Department of Environment (DOE) has rejected Lynas’ application to build a permanent disposal facility (PDF) for radioactive waste in Pahang.

In an update on its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) website today, the status of the Australian mining firm’s report for its proposed project read “rejected”.

The rejection comes just about three months after Lynas submitted its report on Jan 26.

Malaysiakini has contacted DOE director-general Norlin Jaafar on the reason for the rejection and what this means for the project.

The project entitled “proposed development of a dedicated permanent disposal facility for the water leach purification residue” is a project by Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

The residue has low radioactivity but there is concern about its safety after it builds up over years.

According to the DOE website, the EIA report was prepared by AGV Environment Sdn Bhd. The public viewing and feedback period for the proposed project was from Jan 27 to March 19.

Water catchment area

Lynas’ proposed PDF has been controversial due to its site in Bukit Ketam, 35km from the Kuantan town.

It is slated to span 58.25 hectares, occupying 29 percent of a much larger Multi-Category Industrial Scheduled Waste Disposal Facility that will be 202.35-hectares in total. This is equivalent to the size of 283 football fields.

Malaysiakini previously reported that the site is located in the Sungai Riau water catchment area. This was despite Lynas’ earlier assurances as well as threats against its critics for saying so.

According to the EIA report, contaminated stormwater will be treated before it is discharged into the tributaries of Sungai Ara – which is connected to Sungai Kuantan through Sungai Riau.

Sungai Kuantan is home to the Kobat Water Intake Station – which provides water to 781,000 households and businesses in the Pahang capital.

Furthermore, the proposed project is located 3km from Felda Neram Satu.

Other Felda settlements within a 10km radius of the proposed PDF include Felda Bukit Kuantan, Felda Bukit Sagu, and Felda Bukit Goh.

Malaysiakini previously reported that Pahang Regent Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah was a majority shareholder in the private firm engaged as the contractor of both the PDF and the Multi-Category Industrial Scheduled Waste Disposal Facility.

The PDF project is estimated to cost RM400 million.

The prince divested his 50 percent stake in Gading Senggara Sdn Bhd after the report was published.

Bentong Umno vice-chief Johari Harun also relinquished his 40 percent stake and position as the company director. However, he remains the sole owner of Gading Group – of which Gading Senggara was previously said to be a subsidiary.

Both their shares are now being held by Gading Senggara directors Ahmad Radzi Zaini and Mohd Firdaus Redzuan.

MALAYSIAKINI

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