Thursday, February 2, 2012

Are Lynas and Umno/BN merely insensitive... or ABSOLUTELY INSANE?

Serious flooding during the recent monsoon season in the immediate vicinity of the
nearly-completed Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng, Pahang

Key contractor pulled out of Lynas plant due to safety concerns, says NYT
By Shannon Teoh | The Malaysian Insider
February 01, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 – A Dutch chemical firm refused to supply crucial resins for Lynas Corp’s controversial RM2.5 billion rare earth plant in Kuantan due to safety concerns, according to the New York Times.

The influential newspaper cited engineers working for the Australian miner at the Gebeng industrial zone site and internal company e-mails as saying that AkzoNobel withdrew after it was told that the fibreglass liners using its resin would be installed in concrete-walled tanks that have a problem with rising dampness in the floors and cracks in the walls.

Proposed Lynas rare earth refinery flooded
on 13 January 2012 (courtesy of SMSL)
“AkzoNobel had been in discussions about the problem of rising dampness, but only became aware of the cracks this autumn,” the daily reported.

The resins were to be used to glue together dozens of fibreglass liners for concrete-walled tanks the size of double-decker buses where hundreds of tons of rare earths with low levels of radiation will be mixed with extremely corrosive acids at more than 93 degrees Celcius.

The company had said early last year it would supply chemicals for the Lynas project, which has raised fears of radiation pollution among local residents and environmentalists, only if it were certain that it would be safe.

LAMP waste water discharge point flooded  
in December 2011 after two days of heavy rain (SMSL)
In a report last June, the NYT had said that there were critical flaws in the design of the refinery, including the installation of the watertight fibreglass liners.

It said that memos showed Lynas pressed a Malaysian contractor, Cradotex, to proceed with the installation of watertight fibreglass liners designed for the containment tanks without fixing the moisture problem and with limited fixes to the walls.

“These issues have the potential to cause the plant’s critical failure in operation,” Peter Wan, the general manager of Cradotex, said in a June 20 memo obtained by the newspaper.

“More critically, the toxic, corrosive and radioactive nature of the materials being leached in these tanks, should they leak, will most definitely create a contamination issue."

[Read the full story here.]

Are Lynas and Umno/BN utterly insane? The rare earth refinery is located in a flood-prone zone!