Mahathir, radioactive waste and Papan


While Malaysia has big plans to go into nuclear energy, it is still grappling with radioactive waste from the Asian Rare Earth facility in Papan more than 20 years ago.

The Sunday Star carried an excellent write-up on Papan here. (Too bad it was not a cover story but instead appeared deep in its inside pages.) Aliran also carried a story here. In both pieces, Mahathir’s claims on the real situation there have been exposed. During his administration, folks were arrested under the ISA for standing up to protect their area from radioactive waste. It is only in recent years that action is being taken to reduce the danger. Now, the real story emerges. What has Mahathir got to say to those folks who were unjustly detained under the ISA and the rest of the Papan residents who were put at risk?

BN leaders with short memories are now talking about going into nuclear energy.

Wikipedia explains the risk posed by radioactive waste:

According to a 2007 story broadcast on 60 Minutes, nuclear power gives France the cleanest air of any industrialized country, and the cheapest electricity in all of Europe.[65] France reprocesses its nuclear waste to reduce its mass and make more energy.[66] However, the article continues, “Today we stock containers of waste because currently scientists don’t know how to reduce or eliminate the toxicity, but maybe in 100 years perhaps scientists will… Nuclear waste is an enormously difficult political problem which to date no country has solved. It is, in a sense, the Achilles heel of the nuclear industry… If France is unable to solve this issue, says Mandil, then ‘I do not see how we can continue our nuclear program.'”[66] Further, reprocessing itself has its critics, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists.[67]

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Anil Netto
14 Jun 2010 7.11am

Latest: Mahathir, radioactive waste and Papan

Lurve Wonderland
Lurve Wonderland
14 Jun 2010 11.45am

Radioactive waste. Radioactive forever, scientists. #energy #renewable #idioticgovtideas #green #eco

14 Jun 2010 12.41pm

RT @lurvewonderland Radioactive waste. Radioactive forever, scientists. #energy #renewable #idioticgovtideas #gre…

Andrew Peris
Andrew Peris
6 Jan 2011 12.18pm

Perhaps we should consider dumping the radioactive wastes behind TDM’s house since he created the problem for the Papan folks.

Interestingly, if the 100-storey Menara Warisan is a private-funded project (by PNB), why then did our current PM Najib table it for approval in the Budget 2011 in Parliament, after all, it doesn’t involve the tax-payers money (or does it?).

16 Jul 2010 12.19pm

Amang, because of this radioactive waste, I have strong arguement with my employer. Amang, how can I forgot; Papan and Bukit Merah, how can I forgot? Operaation Lalang, how can I forgot?.

There are still Amang processing in Perak, how can I forgot???

Ex- PM can forgot; but not the people who have suffered. Cancer victim from the radioactive dump, can they forget???????

Long live Ex PM???? you can forfget all you have done, but not the people. You can talk all sensitive issues without Operation Lalang, but not all the other people.. how can we forget????

15 Jun 2010 12.54pm

Well, Mahathir himself is a ‘toxic radioactive waste’ we have not been able to get rid OFF!!!

True Malaysian
True Malaysian
2 May 2011 11.16am
Reply to  Bigjoe

Agreed completely. No scientist will be able to get rid of this ‘extremely toxic waste’ . Only God The Almighty can do.

14 Jun 2010 8.38pm

In Cnet, K A Cheah said:- Nuclear Power is not really green and safe but the pollution is worse off in the form of Radioactive Contamination that will take more than a few Centuries to clear like the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident causing deaths, disasters and diseases long term for the people living around the Nuclear Plant site. No one can guarantee that there will be no recurring of an Accident if there is such a Nuclear Plant nearby? Water – the divine gift has the power to give life to all beings on earth or this universe will also give… Read more »

14 Jun 2010 6.18pm

The Thorium Hydroxide can be used to make into atomic battery. There is a patent filed on this. But no one has made one yet.

Where are our R&D institutions? They could find a way to package the radio wastes into “useful” products and export them to the developed countries. This way we can get rid of these wastes and send them back to the countries of origin and make some money.

14 Jun 2010 5.25pm

It used to be true that not only Melayu mudah lupa, but a large percentage of Malaysians in general too. Politicians had been quick to capitalise on that weakness, and often took advantage of it. As in Instant Noodles infrastructure work (paid with rakyat’s own money by the way) just before polls – roads tarred, traffic lights installed, schools repainted… on top of kain pelekat, sewing machines, outboard motors… nothing like a little candy to soothe and help folks forget past bitterness. But dulu lain, kini… age of Internet has brought along better access to news archives and spread of… Read more »

YB Loh Penang
YB Loh Penang
14 Jun 2010 4.54pm

There is another rare earths plant coming up in Kuantan, Pahang.

Just google and you can find the side effects.

14 Jun 2010 4.08pm

Bury the waste at the old sungei besi mines lake near Seri Kembangan where the rich and famous live. Maybe the radiation may cause the residents there to live up to 200 years old due to the good therapeutic effects of the radiation that may perhaps mutate the genes and cells creating the fountain of youth for those living by the lakeside.

14 Jun 2010 8.23pm
Reply to  kclim

Oi… I live in Seri Kembangan and I am nether rich nor famous!

14 Jun 2010 3.15pm

Mahathir mudah lupa.