The government requires more information on Western Australia’s reported refusal to accept radioactive waste from Lynas’ rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Pic by NSTP/SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: The government requires more information on Western Australia’s reported refusal to accept radioactive waste from Lynas’ rare earth processing plant in Gebeng, Kuantan, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

“We need to discuss with the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry,” she told reporters at the Parliament building.

It was recently reported that Western Australia’s Mining, Petroleum, Energy and Industry Relations Minister Bill Johnston had said 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, Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis disclosed that Minister Yeo Bee Yin had on Feb 26 sent a letter to Australia asking 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 in 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 last year, 451,564 metric tons of WLP waste and 1.113 million metric tons of NUF waste had accumulated at the Lynas facility.

Meanwhile, asked about the oversupply of food distributed to the homeless around the capital, which had resulted in wastage, Dr Wan Azizah urged 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 need... like at mosques and places where such food is not available,” she said. – BERNAMA