Lynas Malaysia manages a chemical factory which purifies rare earth ores obtained from the Lynas mine in Western Australia.
Rare Earths deposits are usually found close to naturally occurring radioactive elements. The radioactive material is not embellished during the process of separation and refining. Lynas Malaysia can’t be branded as a nuclear plant and doesn’t generate nuclear waste.
Lynas generates 2 forms of gypsum as the by-products of its Rare Earth refining activities. Firstly, an iron phosphogypsum that is also known by the name of WLP comprises of a low-level of naturally occurring radioactivity. It can be managed safely under regulations implemented by the Malaysian government through the AELB.
Second, form is magnesium rich gypsum that is touted as NUF and is made from nonradioactive material. This can be also managed in a safe manner and follows regulations expertly imposed by the Malaysian government through the DOE.
The iron phosphogypsum (WLP) is stored as per the international best practice and regulatory requirements of Malaysia. However, the debris that’s produced ant the processing plants can vary based on the chemical and physical nature of the residues.
The facilities where WSP residue is stored are devised, built and handled in accordance with the requirements of a Permanent Deposit Facility and international best practice.
Just like the production, the storage of the WLP doesn’t have any negative effect on our surrounding community.
Gypsum (NUF) is formed by Lynas Malaysia and it is not at all hazardous or radioactive. It is also non-toxic material. The residues produced area also not at all toxic for the humans as well as for the aquatic life.
Coming to the point of occupational radiation exposure of the Malaysian workers, it has been stated that IAEA standard is being followed.
Lynas Malaysia has been managing NUF as per the government regulations. Presently, the NUF is kept stored in protected centres on site with the approval and monitoring of the regulating organizations.