On 3 May 2011, a high-level delegation representing the Malaysian government met IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to discuss assistance to address public concerns in Malaysia about a plan to manufacture rare earth oxides in one of the Malaysian states.
A proposed rare earth processing facility, termed the "Lynas Project", has been licensed and is currently under construction to produce "rare earth oxides and carbonates" near Kuantan in Pahang, Malaysia.
In their discussion, Mr. Raja Dato' Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, Director General of the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board, informed Director General Amano that the Malaysian government requested the IAEA to organize an independent panel of international experts to review the radiation health and safety aspects of the Lynas Project.
Director General Amano detailed the support the IAEA will provide the Malaysian government: through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme, the Agency will support the international expert mission to review the Lynas Project's compliance with relevant international Safety Standards and Good Practices and to provide an independent expert opinion on the radiological safety aspects of the Lynas Project. This mission is scheduled to depart by 29 May 2011.
The international expert mission's findings will be shared with the competent Malaysian authority, and according to the IAEA's mandate, the Malaysian authorities will make use of the mission's findings as they deem necessary.
The members of the independent, international expert panel will have knowledge of the IAEA Safety Standards and broad professional experience in their respective disciplines, in particular those radiological safety aspects related to rare earth processing and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, as well as, regulatory control, radiation protection for workers, the public and the environment, in addition to expertise in safety assessments, waste management, environmental monitoring and surveillance, decommissioning and environmental remediation and transport safety.
To preserve the international expert panel's impartiality, the review team will not include individuals whose participation may lead to a conflict of interest.
Malaysia actively participates in the Asian Nuclear Safety Network and strongly supports the Network as the main instrument to improve nuclear safety in the region.