Monday, 23 April 2012

Save Malaysian Jobs, Start Lynas Gebeng

Update 24 April 2012, 

Another enlightening comment from Dato' Dr. Looi that I would like to share with readers, notice that they do not have Stop Arafura, Stop Avalone, Stop Molycorp compaign in Australia, South Africa or USA:

Blogger hwlooi said...
New Rare earth plants

1. Arafura di Whayalla Australia
2. Great Western Minerals di Steenkampskraal South Afrika
3. Avalon Rare Metal di Thor Lake Canada
4. Alkane di Dubbo New South Wales Australia
5. Molycorp Inc. in Mountain Pass, California, USA

In the past the rare earth plants in America were closed for the same reason why any mine or company close had become uneconomical i.e. losing money!

This was because at that time China was selling rare earth elements at a ridiculously low price and nobody could compete with them.

Feb 22, 2012 :
Molycorp Inc. said it will start up a newly constructed rare earths processing plant at its Mountain Pass, Calif., operation this week.
Crushing and cracking operations as well as the facility’s combined heat and power plant are scheduled to come online this week, while other components—including milling and mineral extraction, rare earth oxide...

Australians building Giant Rare Earth Plant in Australia:

It should also be noted that Australians are delighted that a company called Arafura is building a huge Rare Earth Processing Plant costing over A$1 Billion in Whyalla in South Australia.

This plant is expected to produce over 1,000 high paying jobs for the Australians.

Arafura must be hoping that we are stupid enough to stop Lynas and stop competing with them.

Dato' Dr Looi Hoong Wah.
FAMM, MB., ChB(Manchester), MRCS(England), MRCP(UK), MRCP(London
24 April 2012 04:56

Original posting:

"Remember the Tin slags from the Eastern Smelting and Straits Trading in Penang ? These, which contain the tantalum and monazite ore, and the monazite ore can be more than 3,700 % more radioactive than the Lynas waste.

And these radioactive tin slags were used to fill up the old Penang Stadium and the roads in Penang. A lot of these has already been stolen and sold off at a huge profit, but a lot still remains in the roads in Butterworth and Penang island.

The people in Penang have not developed Cancer so far as a result of these slags!"
Dr. Looi Hoong Wah

My recent post on Lynas Gebeng had a surprise distinguished visitor, Datuk Dr. Looi Hoong Wah himself, I would like to share his comments, which would more or less put paid to the rubbish and scare mongering by the Stop Lynas crowd. I am reproducing his comments in full as follows, please read:

Blogger hwlooi said...

All the Anti-Lynas foot soldiers and RED GUARDS BARU should realise that they have been misled by some very sophisticated ultra-devious people who are experts in mass brainwashing and are using the issue to gain political mileage for their own evil ulterior motives.

In Bukit Merah, the radiation comes from Thorium and Uranium which are our own and has been in Malaysia for billions of years.

Although the radiation level is well over 37 times that of the Lynas waste, there is no definite well controlled scientific proof that the cases of leukaemia and birth defects are caused by radiation from the waste.

I have seen lots of cases of leukaemia and other types of cancer as well as birth defects over the last 45 years or so in Malaysia and unfortunately we do not have Lynas around at that time to use as a scapegoat.

Unscrupulous people have been using videos and pictures of patients with congenital abnormalities and other illnesses to instil fear into the population. There is absolutely no scientific proof that these cases are caused by radiation.

Only the absolutely immoral people would use pictures and videos of these unfortunate patients whose disorders have nothing to do with radiation to score political points !

In the south of the state of Kerala in India the soil contains as much as 4,000 ppm (parts of Thorium per million). Studies have shown that there is little or no accumulation of Thorium-232 in the inhabitants.

The Lynas waste contains only 1,650 ppm.

It has been estimated that in the worst case scenario, the radiation risk from the Lynas plant is only 0.002 mSv/yr.

In Ramsar, Iran, the naturally occurring radiation
is extremely high at 260 mSv/yr.
This is 13,000,000% higher than the expected worse case scenario in Kuantan.

And the people in Ramsar, Iran has been found to be healthier and live longer than the rest of the Iranians! There is also no increase in the number of cancer cases.

Remember the Tin slags from the Eastern Smelting and Straits Trading in Penang ? These, which contain the tantalum and monazite ore, and the monazite ore can be more than 3,700 % more radioactive than the Lynas waste.

And these radioactive tin slags were used to fill up the old Penang Stadium and the roads in Penang. A lot of these has already been stolen and sold off at a huge profit, but a lot still remains in the roads in Butterworth and Penang island.

The people in Penang have not developed Cancer so far as a result of these slags!

Even ordinary Sand (crystalline silica, SiO2) is classified as a group 1 Carcinogen (a confirmed cancer causing agent), but as you know, we do not expect a huge number of people in living in the deserts or along the seashores to die from silica induced lung cancer.

The lung cancer risk occurs only when fine sand (silica) is inhaled by miners for a prolonged period in the quarries and mines i.e. silica is not a carcinogen when ingested and of course not when injected for nobody would allow you to inject sand into their veins.

Thorium-232 is a very weakly radioactive substance and produces only alpha particles which cannot even penetrate a thin piece of paper.
All you have to do is to wrap it up in a piece of newspaper and it is for all intents an purposes, is non-radioactive !

" Thorium-232 is considered to be a carcinogen only IF ADMINISTERED INTRAVENOUSLY AS A COLLOIDAL DISPERSION OF THORIUM-232 DIOXIDE."
It is not considered to be a cancer causing substance if taken orally or inhaled according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC, just like silica (sand) which is not carcinogenic if ingested.

Dato' Dr Looi Hoong Wah
22 April 2012 23:43

Blogger hwlooi said...
There are only 2 natural ways of getting any substance into your body:

1. By Eating it (Ingestion) or

2. By Breathing it (Inhalation)

Thorium-232 in clay soil cannot get into you blood stream if you eat it because of it's strong adsorption to clay (stuck firmly to clay).

As explained below, you need to eat far more than 17,000 Kilograms of Lynas waste before you can get cancer in about 30 years time in your old age.

Likewise, you need to breathe in 3.4 Kilograms of Lynas waste (in order to get 5.58 gm of Thorium or 1 vial of Thorotrast) to get cancer in about 30 years time !

As stated, Kuantan people are not MINERS and as such it is impossible to inhale 3.4 Kilograms even in a life-time !

Thorium-232 is harmless when outside the body as it produces only alpha rays which cannot penetrate even a thin piece of paper.

All you have to do is to wrap it up in a piece of newspaper and it will become virtually non-radioactive.

So if Thoriun-232 cannot get into the body in significant amount by inhalation or ingestion and it poses no external threat,


My Reply to Soo Jin Hou’s Letter in the Sun Daily

“LET’S de-politicise the Lynas issue” (Letters, March 23) refers.
The writer said 0.02% to 0.05% of ingested thorium is absorbed and gets into the blood stream. Absorption studies were done on animals for obvious reasons, and in the vast majority of these, the thorium was not mixed with clay, which binds very strongly to the clay particles i.e. adsorbed.

Thorium-232 is strongly bound (adsorbed) by soil especially clay soil. The thorium concentration in the clay particles is about 500,000% higher than in the water between the clay particles (the interstitial spaces of the clay particles). So, it cannot be leached out by water or intestinal juice.

When ingested, there is insignificant absorption of the thorium because of this strong bond between clay particles and thorium. Practically all the thorium will be excreted in the faeces with the clay.
So the actual amount of thorium that is absorbed into the blood stream when mixed with clay soil as in the case of the Lynas waste is much, much less than 0.02%.

Since Lynas waste contains 1,650 parts of thorium per million and even if we take the inflated rate of 0.02% absorption, it would mean that to get 0.33g of thorium into the blood stream, we have to swallow 1,000kg (1 tonne) of Lynas waste!

Practically all the data on the carcinogenic effects of thorium-232 was obtained retrospectively from the intravenous use of a massive dose of thorium dioxide called Thorotrast (a 25cc vial of a 25% colloidal suspension of thorium dioxide) in investigative radiological studies.

Studies appear to show that a small number out of the 4 million patients who were given this massive dose of 1 or 2 vials (containing 5.58g to 11.7g of thorium) of Thorotrast, developed cancer especially of the liver 20 to 30 years later in their old age.

So in order to get 5.58g of thorium-232 (equivalent to 1 vial of Thorotrast), we have to swallow an incredible 17,000kg or 17 tonnes of Lynas waste!

I do not think anybody in Kuantan will be able to swallow 17 tonnes of Lynas waste … and that is assuming that the thorium-232 is not strongly adsorbed to clay particles.

With respect to the inhalation of thorium-232, all studies were conducted on workers in the uranium or thorium mining or refining industry and not on populations in towns like Kuantan, and therefore do not apply to the present issue.

Datuk Dr Looi Hoong Wah
22 April 2012 23:44
I have nothing further to add except that I hope the Gomen stop mucking about with the Stop Lynas group and allow Lynas Gebeng plant to proceed with the initial operations so that Lynas can measure whatever need to be measured in their plant supervised by the AELB experts as a prelude to a longer long term license to operate.


martin said...

Hmmm, I wonder if you a Lynas investor? If the mess in Bukit Merah is nothing to be concerned about, they why was 100 million dollars paid to clean up the mess? Oh, I shouldn't be concerned as there is no scientific evidence that it caused any health issues in Bukit Merah.

Anonymous said...

there you go...another proof from a Dr. in the radioactive field, but DR. sorry to say that your opinion is useless and non standard for pakatan loyal anti lynas supporter.

For them a guy like you is nothing but someone being paid by BN(conspiracy that never end).

Sad huh, maybe you should create a team of in name of professionals that the current situations is not relevan..people are blind not because they actually understand about lynas THEY ARE BLIND BECAUSE OF THE HATRED THAT DAP AND FUZIAH AND PAKATAN SEED INSIDE THEIR HEART.

To them as this is Democratic. Any strong related and relevant comment that against them are rubbish, but any comment like coming from fuziah are "LIKE THE GOD COMMAND"

just wish to this people that their heart to be open and to be light by truth and not the lies and hatred.



eddy said...

1.Sorry to dissapoint you martin but I am not a Lynas investor.

2.Comparing Lynas Gebeng and the ARE Bukit Merah is like comparing bananas and apples, fruits yes but very different fruits.

3.Anyway my posting is on Lynas Gebeng and why it should be allowed to operate, you are talking about ARE,can't argue with that.

eddy said...

Thanks for your comment anon 17:16 :))

hwlooi said...


Even our DNA is radioactive as the highly radioactive Carbon-14 which constitute a part of the DNA molecule undergoes beta decay by emission of an electron and an antineutrino and changes into Nitrogen-14.
So even our sacred DNA changes with time as a result of this intrinsic radioactivity.

The potassium tablets that your doctor gives you as an adjunct for high blood pressure therapy is highly radioactive with a radioactivity of 32 Bq/gm and we need about 2 to 3 grams of potassium per day to stay alive.

The radioactivity comes from potassium-40. This is more than 500% the radioactivity of the Lynas waste which contains only 6 Bq/gm mainly from Thorium-232.

Potassium when taken stays in the intracellular space where the cancer sensitive chromosomes are located whereas the ingested or inhaled Thorium-232 remains in the extracellular (outside the cell) space.

All the potassium that we eat everyday in our food contains potassium-40 and the normal dietary potassium would give a total of about 80 Bq per day.
Compare this with the Lynas waste which produces only 6 Bq/gm

Even your wife or husband is radioactive, with a radioactivity of 4,000 Bq from Potassium-40 and another 3,000 Bq from Carbon-14 giving a total of about 7,000 Bq!

Since all living cells contain potassium, all types of meat, flesh, fruits, nuts and vegetables are radioactive because of the potassium-40 content.

The so-called sodium free salt recommended by health experts to combat high blood pressure is nothing more than just highly radioactive potassium salt! Even a lot of doctors, specialists and professors do not know this!

A miner for Potassium chloride (16.4 Bq/G) would only need to be near the big pile of the mine for about 7 hours to exceed the public dose limit of 1 mSv.
This exposure level is same dose of radiation as working 6 months in LAMP or living 500 years near it.
The message here is that more radioactive substances are freely sold in the shops and used as a fertilizer or eaten by us than you would otherwise thought.

Guarapari which has a population about 100,000 is a coastal town in Brazil.
Every year, many people visit the beach with black sand in this town for swimming and treatment of rheumatic disorders.
The usual beach sand in Guarapari has a radiation dose of 5 microsievert/hour.
The black sand is even higher with 131 microsievert/hour. Average radiation exposure of Guarapari is 175 milisievert/year.
The radioactivity is originated from the mountains rich in zirconites and monazites along the coast.

Ramsar is a city in Iran with population of more than 31,000. The average dose of radiation received by people in Ramsar is about 10 milisievert/year, and can reach level in exceed of 260 milisievert/year.

Quote from Wikipedia: "This high level of radiation does not seem to have caused ill effects on the residents of the area and even possibly has made them slightly more radioresistant, which is puzzling and has been called "radiation paradox". It has also been reported that residents have healthier and longer lives.
On the basis of this and other evidence including the fact that life had originated in a much more irradiated environment, some scientists have questioned the validity of linear no-threshold model, on which all radiation regulations currently depend.
Others point out that some level of radiation might actually be good for health and have a positive effect on population based on the controversial radiation hormesis model, by jump starting DNA repair mechanisms inside the cell. "
Dr Looi

hwlooi said...

Close Down All Our Factories, Industrial Plants, Power Plants, Oil Rigs etc, and Become a 4th World Country and Send Our Daughters and Granddaughters To Myanmar and Kampuchea to Work as Domestic Servants!
I have always maintained that the main problem is not radiation but the normal chemical toxic wastes from a normal chemical plant.
I agree that there is also a fear that the waste will be dumped all over the place. Unfortunately, this risk also apply to all our factories and plants. Should we demand that all our factories and plants to be closed down so that we can go back to the good old days of tapping rubber and plucking coconuts for the BIG WHITE MAN?
And why is it that we only target Lynas and not the rest of all our factories and industrial plants which produce far more toxic wastes especially our own oil palm mills and tin mining and smelting industries?
Using the same logic we should ask all these plants to send all their wastes back to Germany, England, US etc. I bet with you nobody would want to invest in Malaysia. We will remain poor and may have to send our daughters and granddaughters to work as lowly domestic maids in other countries.
Quote Ng Ai Soo
“And what about other pollution and/or radiation sources in the environment before Lynas even starts. For example, a 1,000MW coal plant after just 1 year of operation produces 6,000,000 tons of CO2, 44,000 tons of SO2, 22,000 tons of NO2, 320,000 tons of ash containing 400 tons of heavy metals (arsenic, mercury, cadmium, lead etc.) and, here’s the kicker, including 5 tons or Uranium and 12 tons of Thorium from which the radon gas of both decay chains are out the chimney and into our air… and we are building TWO of these now to add to those we already have on the peninsula.”

"In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy." (Quote from Scientific American)

Where do we store this waste? Does this waste go into making our roads or construction material? What is Lynas waste in comparison?! How did we manage to put up with that yearly radioactive and toxic waste, and plan to build more of the same, with no objection from the Anti-Lynas people? "


Dato' Dr Looi Hoong Wah
FAMM, MB.,ChB(Manchester), MRCS(England), MRCP(UK), MRCP(London)

hwlooi said...

Quote: "Thorium-232 do not produce any gamma rays, but it's daughter radionuclides do produce the dangerous penetrating gamma rays" Unquote

Pure freshly separated Thorium-232 has only a slight alpha activity. There is no beta radiation and only a slight amount of gamma radiation (from the 0.09-MeV gamma rays which emanate from Th-228 decay).

However, the activity from the Th-228 side of the chain is quickly re-established. A first equilibrium state is reached in about 36 days (10 half-lives of Ra-224).

Activity then declines, as Th-228 decays faster than it is replenished by decaying Ac-228. About 3 years after separation, the activity is lower than at any other time except just after isolation.

Activity then increases until the second equilibrium state is reached in about 60 years or so.

Thorium-232 with all its daughter radionuclides

Total alpha energy = 36.2 MeV per nuclear decay
Total Gamma energy = 3.40 MeV per nuclear decay
Total Beta energy = 5.95 MeV per nuclear decay

Since the Lynas waste has 6 Bq/gm of activity, 1 KILOGRAM would have 6,000 Bq and that will produce 20,400 MeV of gamma ray energy from all the daughter radionuclides at equilibrium.

20,400 MeV from 1 kg of Lynas waste = 0.0000000007808 calories or 0.000000003268 joules.

This amount of gamma ray energy from 1 KILOGRAM of Lynas waste is not enough to tickle the backside of even a tiny little newborn caterpillar!

The total alpha energy is much larger i.e. 36.2 MeV but since alpha radiation does not pose an external threat and Thorium in clay soil is not absorbed, and since inhalation only affects miners, it is not a problem either for the Kuantan folks. But it may be a problem for those poor Australian miners in Mount Weld in Western Australia.

So, the Australians are the ones getting the wrong side of the deal!
Dust particles can get deep into the lungs only if they are very small i.e. much less than 10 micron. The particles that are less than 5 microns are the ones which can get deep into the alveoli of the lungs. Larger ones are trapped by the mucus in the nose and upper respiratory tract and are coughed out or sneezed out.

Particles of less than 5 microns can only be found in the Thorium and Uranium mines where powerful machines are used or where there is combustion.

Since alpha radiation cannot go far (the 4.0 MeV alpha particle from Thorium-232 decay can travel only 27.8 microns in water), even if you have a huge pile of Lynas waste, the external radiation would not increase by much because only the tiny percentage of thorium-232 atoms directly on the surface of the pile will be able to radiate out their alpha particles.

Those just below the surface will remain inside the pile and be converted to simple helium gas and those on the surface will travel only 2.54 cm into the air, picks up 2 electrons and become the harmless Helium for you to fill up your balloon.

The beta particles which are electrons (electricity = flow of electrons) do not pose an external threat either. There are lots more high voltage electrons on your clothing as static electricity when you stay in a dry air-condition room than from the waste.

Only gamma rays from your mountain of Lynas waste from less than 45 cm deep (depending on the type of soil and the water content) are able to see the light of day, as those deeper than that will be blocked by the layer of soil from getting out. And as shown above the amount of gamma rays are insignificant.

When the mother radionuclide has an extremely long half life and the daughters have very short half life, there is very little accumulation of the short half life daughters.

For instance, I did a quick calculation and found that the concentration of the daughter radionuclides is negligible e.g. there is only 1 atom of Radium 224 for every 1.4 trillion atoms of Thorium-232 at equilibrium (I stand to be corrected).


Dr HW Looi