Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lynas: The Myth of Converting the Radioactive Waste

It's reported in Malaysiakini today that Science Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Johnity Ongkili said that the waste streams may be able to be converted into synthetic aggregates which emit only low-level radiation and it is an "innovative" option by the Lynas [1]. He continued to say that "Don't politicize the matter. We are smart enough, we are not stupid people lah. We run this country based on international standards.” [1].  

Let's see now if he is really smart enough and genuine to follow international standards. 

If he is 'smart' enough, he should know that processing the radioactive waste is not quite possible to be the solution to Lynas waste problem. As a Science Technology and Innovation Minister, he should know the science that material conversion cannot be 100% unless energy cost is not of a concern. Well, maybe the technology is beyond my knowledge, therefore I am looking forward to see the magic chemical process that will 100% convert the WLP (water leach purification) waste stream to non-radioactive products, non-radioactive by-products as well as non-radioactive waste. 

By the way, I wonder if the mentioned technology is in lab scale or already has a pilot plant. If it is not already in pilot, how to scale-up to a full-scale waste recycling plant in a short time? I wonder if  Maximus Ongkili has even tried to understand the so called 'innovative' option from the Lynas before he organize a press conference and talk about it. 

If he is really sincere in following 'international standard', then he should remember the much bragged about International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Report on Lynas. It was stated clearly in page 17 that " The development of the "synthetic mineral product".....however it is expected that some of the WLP will end up having to be disposed as waste...." [2

Therefore, I believe that we'll still face with radioactive waste issue even after waste recycling, maybe just a smaller volume. Since it's not tolerable for Malaysians to keep any radioactive waste for a foreign firm profit, iMaximus Ongkili is 'smart' enough, he should just ask straight for the waste export plan and waste export plan alone from the Lynas and not let Lynas delaying the matter by proposing waste recycle plan unless they can proof the technology by showing the pilot plant that the technology can really convert 100% the radioactive materials into non-radioactive ones. 

Is he 'smart' since he has forgotten to tell us many critical aspects of waste recycling process? Is BN running the country based on 'international standards' since our Science Minister has apparently forgotten the IAEA report? 

I am not sure. What say you?