Lynas Issue by Dr. HW Looi >>>

Potassium-40 in banana is more radioactive than Lynas rare earth by-product

These are scientific radioactive facts purposely ignored by anti-Lynas group.

Fact 1: Lynas radioactive residue contain a very low level of radiation at 6 Bq/G.

Fact 2: Banana with natural potassium level of radiation is about 31 Bq/g. [15 Bq for a banana or 0.2Bq/G]

G is for the weight of substance in gram, g is for the weight for natural radioactive material in gram.  [Revised on 5/3/2012, 7.11PM.]

I eats radioactive bananas every week, so what?

Actually, we adult human body contains 250g of potassium and 0.012% is the radioactive beta emitter potassium-40 (half-life 1.3 x 109 yr). Therefore, the activity of potassium-40 in the body is 7600 Bq. Its radioactivity is 500 times stronger than a banana and equivalent to 1.3 Kg Water Leach Purification (WLP) residue from Lynas.

Should we commit suicide for having a small quantity of radioactive substance in our body?

Mind you, Potassium-40 is 62 times more radioactive than Thorium-232. Beta particle in Potassium-40 is more energized than alpha particle from Thorium-232 and it can penetrate through our skin.

Unless you are living in the wooden house, the cements used in your house also has the natural radioactivity from Th-232, Ra-226 and K-40, certain cement has more radioactive doses than Lynas waste.

I have no problem to use Lynas waste to build my house since the cement we used now also has the same level of natural radioactivity if anti-Lynas supporters are willing to pay for the construction cost.

Any taker for my appeal? I am becoming a guinea pig to prove my point is right.

The keyword here is the dose of alpha and beta radioactive particles from Thorium-232 and Potassium-40 are too small and distributed evenly in the huge population for both cases.

A reader points out (the accuracy is subject to expert review)

A miner for Potassium chloride (16.4 Bq/G) would only need to be near the big pile of 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 more radioactive substance is freely sold in the shop and used as a fertilizer for food source like paddy.

Don’t let PR politicians and half-cooked environmentalists misleading you for their political agenda. I am anti-BN does not mean I blindly support wrong thing from PR.

Intentionally deleted to avoid confusion on substance and radioactive weights after revision.

I have read and seen a lot of myths from Anti-Lynas activists like

1. Australian government has rejected Lynas rare earth plant in Australia.

Answer: Not true.

2. Lynas choosen Malaysia, not Australia because of hazardous waste disposal issue.

Answer: A half true.

All foreign investors like poor waste management policy in Malaysia for cost saving reason.

My support to Lynas always come with one condition, proper waste management audited by an independent expert panel.

3. Gebeng rare earth processing plant is same with Bukit Merah rare earth.

Answer: Not true.

Rare earth compound composition is varied and in different grade, the radioactive from waste in Bukit Merah is 50 times stronger than Gebeng waste.

4. Lynas plant is the same and as dangerous as nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Answer: A big lie.

Lynas plant is just another mining extraction factory from the rare earth with various toxic chemical processes like in the wafer and solar cell factories in Kedah, Sarawak, Penang , Melaka, etc.

5. All radioactive materials are deadly as Uranium used in the nuclear reactor.

Answer: Not true.

Thorium-232 does not produce dangerous gamma rays, which have high ionising energy, high frequency and short electromagnetic wavelength. So thorium radioactive material will not travel more than a few centimeters in the air and cannot penetrate into your skin like X-ray.

Thorium-232 with a half-life span 14000000000 year means destructive beta and gamma radiations are negligible compared to low energy alpha particles.

6. Thorium can dissolve into rainwater.

Answer: Not true.

Thorium is insoluble in water and the risk of going into food chain is minimal.

7. Environmental pollution in China is due to rare earth plants.

Answer: Not true.

All sort of factories, vehicles and coal-powered plants are main sources of pollution in China due to lack of enforcement on waste management.

8. Thorium can cause cancer.

Answer: True.

Thorium can cause cancer if you eat or inhale it into your body. But, there are more than 1000 types of chemical toxic particulates in the smoke from the cigarette can cause cancer also.

Which source is closer to you and would cause cancer risk to you?

9. Our stadium can collapse, how we trust our government to oversee Lynas waste storage facility?

Answer: Several space shuttles, bridges and dams in America did collapse and kill hundred of people. By this weired logic from green activists and PR politicians, American government should stop carry out any public project.

10.  10,000-20,000 protesters in a rally is “suara rakyat” must be listened and followed by a government.

Answer: Yes, every Malaysian has the right to express opinion openly. Whether a rally is representing the majority Malaysian is still unknown and uncertain for its non-random sampling and biasness.

Opinion is not fact, and those taking opinion as fact is disastrous to human civilization. The collective opinion of 28 million Malaysians cannot change this fact, “no object can travel faster than light speed”.

Please get the experts to study rebuttals from Lynas about anti-Lynas myths before you want to argue with me.

The major natural source of radioactivity in plant tissue is potassium, which in nature contains 0.0117% of the unstable isotope potassium-40 (40K). This isotope decays with a half-life of about 1.25 billion years (4×1016 seconds), and therefore the activity of natural potassium is about 31 Bq/g — meaning that, in one gram of the element, about 31 atoms will decay per second.[2][3] Plants naturally contain other radioactive isotopes, such as carbon-14 (14C), but their contribution to the total activity is much smaller.[citation needed] Since a typical banana contains about half a gram of potassium,[4] it will have an activity of roughly 15 Bq. (Although small in environmental and medical terms, the radioactivity of a few bananas is sufficient to trigger radiation sensors used to detect possible smuggling of nuclear material at U.S. ports.[5])


The comment board with Facebook account.
Manja says:

Kita patut belajar dari Sejarah demi masa depan kita.
Saya nak share cerita ini yang disalurkan oleh kawan saya dari Kuantan buat bacaan peminat setia nkkhoo yang minat cerita panajng.

Rare Earth Plant – A chronology of shame

Eight men — a welder, a shoemaker, a general worker, a pensioner, a barber, a tractor driver, a crane-operator and a cancer victim who was to die shortly — sued Asian Rare Earth in 1985 on behalf of themselves and 10,000 other residents of Bukit Merah and the environs in Perak. They wanted to shut down this rare earth plant in their village near Ipoh because its radioactive waste was endangering their lives.

When the Mitsubishi joint venture plant opened over 1982, the villagers soon began complaining of the factory’s stinging smoke and bad smell which made them choke and cry. Worse was to come. Their health began failing, indicated not only by frequent bouts of coughs and colds, but a sharp rise in the incidence of leukaemia, infant deaths, congenital disease and lead poisoning.

For the first time in Malaysian legal history, an entire community has risen to act over an environmental issue, to protect their health and environment from radioactive pollution.

Below is the chronology of what happened when a radioactive rare earth plant was set up in Bukit Merah. Today, about 30 years later, the Government is allowing a new rare earth plant to be set up by Lynas in Gebeng, Kuantan. This new project should be scrapped if the Malaysian Government puts the health of Malaysians before profits.


November: The Asian Rare Earth Sdn Bhd (ARE) is incorporated to extract yttrium (a rare earth) from monazite. The major shareholders are the following: Mitsubishi Chemical Industries Ltd (35%), Beh Minerals (35%), Lembaga Urusan dan Tabung Haji or the state-owned Pilgrims’ Management Fund Board (20%) and other bumiputra businessmen (10%). ARE seeks the advice of the Tun Ismail Research Centre (Puspati) of the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry about radioactive waste produced by processing monazite. It is decided that the waste, the property of the Perak State Government, will be kept in view of its potential as a source of nuclear energy.


June : Residents of Parit in Perak learn that a nine-acre site six kilometres away has been chosen by the government as a storage dump for ARE’s radioactive waste.

30 June : Following strong protest by the residents’ committee and other political and social organisations, the plan is scrapped by the government which begins to look for another site to locate the dump.

11 July : ARE factory begins operations at 7.2 km Jalan Lahat in Bukit Merah New Village.


November : Residents of Papan (about 16 kilometres from Ipoh) find out that ARE is building trenches of a waste dump near their town to store radioactive waste. The site had been picked by the government.


24 May : About 6,700 residents of Papan and nearby towns sign a protest letter and send it to the Prime Minister, Perak Menteri Besar, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Science, Technology and Environment.

31 May : About 200 residents from Papan protest against the proposed waste dump. They block the road leading to the site.

5 June : The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the government has taken every precaution to ensure safety and that construction of the radioactive dump in Papan will go ahead.

18 June : About 300 Papan residents demonstrate for the second time against the proposed location of the dump.

28 June : The Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Datuk Amar Stephen Yong, states that the Papan dump is safe because it is being built according to stringent standards. He challenges critics to prove that the dump will be hazardous to health and the environment. In the meanwhile, ARE continues operating, dumping the thorium waste into an open field and pond next to the factory.

1 July : About 3,000 people, including women and children, hold a peaceful demonstration to protest against the Papan dump.

4 July : About 2,000 people continue with the demonstration despite an order from the Perak Chief Police Officer to call it off.

18 July : A Bukit Merah Action Committee is formed, comprising residents from Bukit Merah, Lahat, Menglembu and Taman Badri Shah to support the Papan residents. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) sends a memorandum to the Prime Minister stating that high levels of radiation exist at the open field and pond next to the ARE factory in Bukit Merah. One reading taken by SAM officials in a recent visit was 43,800 millirems/year, 88 times higher than the maximum level permitted by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) for the public.

29 August : Michael O’Riordan from the British National Radiological Protection Board is invited by the government to inspect the dump site in Papan.

19 September : A three-man team from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visit the Papan site at the invitation of the Malaysian government. They declare the trenches there as unsafe.

5 October : A British physicist and safety analyst, Dr William Cannell, is invited by the Papan residents to visit the dump. He finds its engineering work to be “extremely shoddy”.

21 October : An American expert, formerly of the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation (BEIR), Dr Edward Radford, is invited by the Papan people to review the dump. He finds the site is unsuitable and that the trenches have thin or cracked walls.

7 November : A Japanese industrial waste expert, Dr Jun Ui, is invited by the Papan people to inspect the waste dump. He finds it unsuitable foil storing hazardous waste.

28 November : The Cabinet discusses reports submitted by the two regulatory bodies. The report by the British National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) said that residents would be safe only if certain conditions were observed by the Perak Government and ARE. The second report by IAEA said the trenches did not meet required specifications.

9 December : More than 1,500 residents in Papan stage a one-day hunger strike to protest against the government’s decision to go ahead with the plan to locate the dump in Papan. Bukit Merah residents bring in a Japanese radiation and genetics expert, Professor Sadao Ichikawa, to measure radiation levels at the open field and pond next to the ARE factory. He finds the levels there dangerously high, the highest at 800 times above the permissible level.

12 December : Acting Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam declares a personal interest in the Papan affair. He pays a visit to the dump.


11 January : After a Cabinet meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam, the government decides to relocate the proposed dump site to Mukim Belanja in the Kledang Range about five kilometers from Papan and three kilometres from Menglembu.

1 February : Eight residents on behalf of themselves and the Bukit Merah residents file an application in the Ipoh High Court to stop ARE from producing, storing and keeping radioactive waste in the vicinity of the village. The Atomic Energy Licensing Act of 1984 is en-forced. It ensures that operators of nuclear installations (including the government) are held liable for nuclear damage. A five-member Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) is formed under the Act, with representatives from Puspati, the Ministry of Health and the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry.

14 October : Justice Anuar bin Datuk Zainal Abidin at the Ipoh High Court grants an injunction to the Bukit Merah residents to stop ARE from producing and storing radioactive waste until adequate safety measures are taken. More than 1,500 residents of Bukit Merah turn up at court to hear the decision.


22 September : ARE claims it has spent over RM2 million to upgrade safety measures (as required by the court injunction) following IAEA standards. It invites an American atomic energy expert, Dr E. E. Fowler (formerly with the IAEA) to visit the factory. Dr Fowler states that radiation levels near ARE facilities have met ICRP standard and that the factory is safe for operation.

5 October : About 3,000 residents in and around Bukit Merah stage a demonstration against ARE’s plan to keep radioactive waste in its permanent dump in the Kledang Range.

28 October : Professor Sadao Ichikawa on his second trip to Bukit Merah reveals that radiation around the ARE factory is still above the acceptable level. He is denied entry into the factory.

16 November : A team from AELB checks out a few illegal thorium waste dump sites in Bukit Merah. They are assisted by ARE ex-contractor, Ng Toong Foo, who had carried out the dumping. Readings at one dump are between 0.05-0.10 millirems/hour (that is, 438-876 millirems/year) above the maximum safety level of 0.057 millirems/hour set by the ICRP.

26 November : Representatives from seven areas (Bukit Merah, Lahat, Taman Badri Shah, Menglembu, Papan, Falim and Guntong) form the Perak Anti-radioactive Committee (PARC).

8 December : Minister Kasitah Gadam of the Prime Minister’s Department says that radiation levels at two illegal dumps in Bukit Merah checked by AELB are safe. He says that although the AELB found that the levels exceeded the normal radiation levels this does not pose a danger as such dumps are few in number.


6 February : Disregarding the High Court injunction to ARE to stop operations, the Malaysian AELB grants a licence to ARE to resume operations.

10 April : Fourteen foreign experts invited by PARC to Bukit Merah — founder-director of the International Institute for Public Concern in Canada, Dr Rosalie Bertell; Secretary of the Centre for Industrial Safety and Environmental Concern in India, V.T. Pathmanabhan; President of the Health and Energy Institute in the United States, Kathleen Tucker among others — are denied entry into ARE. At a forum held in Bukit Merah, these experts concur that ARE presents severe health hazards.

12 April : About 10,000 people march through Bukit Merah in protest against the resumption of operations by ARE.

24 May : About 300 people are dispersed by Federal Reserve Unit personnel near ARE. Over 20, including three women, are injured in two clashes that day. About 60 people are rounded up by police. All but six are released later after questioning. The six youths are freed a week later since the police do not press charges. ARE construction work for a road to the proposed permanent dump site in the Kledang Range is halted by residents.

23 July : A Canadian doctor, Bernie Lau, is engaged by PARC to set up radon gas detectors outside ARE. He finds significant amounts of radon gas escaping from the plant. Earlier, Science, Technology and Environment Minister Datuk Arnar Stephen Yong had said the government was satisfied with the environmental impact assessment report on the proposed permanent dump. The assessment had been carried out by ARE together with the Ministry’s officials.

7 September : The hearing of the suit filed by the eight Bukit Merah residents against ARE begins before Justice Peh Swee Chin in the Ipoh High Court. To highlight their plight, supporters of PARC walk for about eight kilometres from Bukit Merah to Ipoh. Police break up their march near Menglembu. Nine people are arrested but later freed on bail. About 1,000 show up in court to give their support.

11 September : Residents march from Bukit Merah to Ipoh High Court for the last day of hearing. Their number in the court grounds swells to 3,000.

18 September : Bukit Merah residents file contempt proceedings against ARE for breaking the injunction granted to them by the Ipoh High Court in 1985.

27 October : Over a hundred people are detained under the Internal Security Act. Among them are the following: PARC chairman Hew Yoon Tat, PARC vice-chairman Hiew Yew Lan, then PARC secretary Lee Koon Bun, committee member Phang Kooi Yau and Consumers’ Association of Penang’s (CAP) legal centre lawyer representing the Bukit Merah plaintiffs, Meenakshi Raman. They are freed after two months.

November : ARE starts building the permanent waste dump in the Kledang Range.


25 January : The trial resumes.


13 February : The trial comes to a close after 65 days of hearing stretched over 32 months.


11 July : The people of Bukit Merah win their suit against ARE. The factory is ordered by the Ipoh High Court to shut down within 14 days. ARE announces that it will appeal to the Supreme Court.

23 July : ARE files an appeal at the Supreme Court against the Ipoh High Court order to cease operations. PARC chairman Hew Yoon Tat and Lau Fong Fatt, one of the plaintiffs in the suit against ARE, meet top management personnel of Mitsubishi Chemical in Japan. They are told that ARE filed the appeal without the corporation’s consent.

24 July : Following an ex parte application by ARE, the Lord President of the Supreme Court suspends (until further order) the High Court order to ARE to stop operations.

3 August : Over 2,000 people from Bukit Merah turn up at the Supreme Court to hear the appeal by ARE against the Ipoh High Court order suspending operations at ARE. However, the Supreme Court judges postpone the hearing to 5 August because of “pressure exerted by people picketing” outside the courtroom.

5 August : The Supreme Court allows an application by ARE to suspend the High Court order requiring ARE to stop operations pending an appeal by the company. According to the judges, the closure would bring hardship to the company and its 183 workers.


15 March : The scheduled hearing of the appeal filed by ARE at the Supreme Court is postponed to 7 June.23 December 1993

23 December 1993: The Supreme Court overturned the High Court decision on 2 grounds. The Court was of the opinion that ARE’s experts were more believable in terms of the results of the tests conducted by them showing that radiation was within permissible levels. Secondly, the Supreme Court said that the residents should have gone back to the AELB to ask that it revoke ARE’s licence, because AELB has the power to do so under the Atomic Energy Licensing Act. The Court said: “ is up to the residents to convince the licensing authority that the operation of the factory is not in the public interest because of the danger of radiation to their health”.

The Atomic Energy Licensing Act, however, does not have any provision for appeals by affected communities or the public for any appeals for the revocation of a licence granted to a company by the AELB.

Despite the success of ARE in their appeal, the company later stopped operations and began cleaning up, due to public pressure both nationally and internationally.


19 January 1994: ARE announced the closure of its Bukit Merah plant.


6 November 2002 : The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) wrote to CAP and said that the decommissioning and decontamination of the ARE plant had not begun. It will only happen when the Perak State Government and ARE finalise an agreement.


A decommissioning and decontamination exercise started in 2003 and 2005.


13 June 2010 : Former premier Dr. Mahathir Mohamad disagreed with the proposal for Malaysia to build nuclear power plants and reported that “a small amount” of nuclear waste was buried in Perak.

Mahathir said, “In Malaysia, we do have nuclear waste which perhaps the public is not aware of. We had to bury the amang (tin tailings) in Perak, deep in the ground. But the place is still not safe. Almost one square mile of that area is dangerous.”

Following his remarks, The Star has discovered that 80,000 200-litre drums containing radioactive waste are currently being kept at the dump located in the Kledang Range behind Papan town. The site is about 3km from Bukit Merah and Papan and about 15km from Ipoh. And the waste is thorium hydroxide, not amang.

In fact, it is only January this year that work finally began on the building of a proper underground storage facility called an engineered cell (EC).

The ongoing cleanup of the 30-year-old problem is estimated to cost a massive RM300 million.


March 2011 : The New York Times reported that as many as 2,500 workers are rushing to complete a US$230 million plant in Gebeng, near Kuantan, that will refine slightly radioactive ore from Australia.

The rest is history still in the making …

nkkhoo says:

Only brainless ppl treat rare earth is a same type of material.

Anti-Lynas ppl argued rare earth used in France is different with the Lynas rare earth, then why they have NO courage to tell the truth; rare earth in Papan is also different with Lynas rare earth.

hwlooi says:

Anti- Lynas QUOTE:
Potassium-40, when absorbed, is distributed more uniformly throughout the human body, mostly in muscle tissue which is among the least radio-sensitive of the body’s tissues, Thorium entering the bloodstream localises to the bones where it is retained with a biological half-life of 22 years

When Potassium is taken into the body it is not just concentrated in the muscles but concentrated in the INTRACELLULAR spaces of ALL CELLS where the cancer sensitive chromosomes are located!

So to say that Potassium concentration is less in the radiosensitive cells of the blood, lymphoid tissues, testis, ovaries and intestine is definitely not in line with basic human physiology.

It is concentrated and equally distributed in ALL INTRACELLULAR SPACES . In terms of per cell mass, it may be slightly less only in fat cells.

Intracellular Potassium = 139 to 140 mEq
Extracellular Potassium = 4 mEq which is tiny compared with the Intracellular Potassium.

Thorium-232 stays mainly in the extracellular space where it is not so harmful.
Practically all the data on the acute and long term toxicology of Thorium-232 comes from the study of Thorotrast.

Most of the human data for thorium exposure comes from diagnostic studies. A massive dose of 1 to 2 vials of 25 ml of 25% Colloidal thorium-232 dioxide (Thorotrast) was injected into patients as a radiographic contrast medium between 1928 and 1955.

Thorium dioxide in Thorotrast is insoluble and in a colloidal form i.e. in the form of particles. All insoluble particles are taken up by the macrophages and other cells of the reticulo-endothelial (RE) system and deposited into the tissues of the RE system i.e. the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow and parts of the small intestines and not just the bones.

In humans, where will the soluble and not particulate form of Thorium salts be deposited and what is the renal clearance and hence their biological half life ? Nobody really knows because, for obvious reasons, all studies done on Thorium are conducted on animals. The results are only applicable to rats, rabbits, cats and dogs !

In places like Kerala, a coastal belt in India, the concentration of Thorium-232 in the soil average about 4,000 ppm.

The radiation at Karunagapally, Kerala has been assessed at 5 to 8 milisievert/year. In certain location on the coast, it is as high as 70 milisievert/year.

Thorium-232 is strongly adsorbed to clay and there is no natural way it can get into the body. Even the plants and fruits do not contain any Thorium in these high Thorium areas.

The amount of Thorium in the human body is so tiny (estimated to be only 30 micrograms per body) that only extremely sophisticated equipments are able to measure the true level.

The epidemiological data from these studies show that the primary health effects of high doses of injected Thorotrast are blood disorders and liver tumours. However, these tumours and blood disorders could have been caused by the massive doses of X-rays from the rather antique X-ray machines used at that time.

Because these are contrast studies, more than 20 to 50 X-rays need to be taken and the dose is really massive. None of the studies have factored in this massive dose of X-rays as all the studies are done retrospectively.

Some evidence of increased incidence of lung, pancreatic, and haematopoietic cancers was found in workers occupationally exposed to thorium via inhalation.

However, these workers were also exposed to several other toxic agents especially Silica (SiO2) which is a group 1 carcinogen and in some cases to other radionuclides like Uranium, K-40 and Radium, so direct causation cannot be inferred.

Inhalation of Thorium-232 by the general population like those living in the cities is practically impossible for the particles that can get into the lungs need to be between 1 to 5 microns. These tiny particles can only be found in the thorium or uranium mines or unsophisticated refineries.

Few data are available regarding the health effects associated with low (e.g., environmental) levels of exposure from either inhalation or ingestion.

Dr Looi

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,

From the New Straits Times Press, Ahmad Ibrahim, Fellow of Academy of Sciences, Malaysia Quote:

“La Rochelle, the ‘Lynas of France’

Many would be surprised that La Rochelle has for decades been hosting a rare earths processing plant, similar to the one planned in Malaysia.

The La Rochelle facility, which belongs to France’s Rhodia Group, has for years been operating like Lynas. Forty years to be exact. And there has been no adverse health and safety report in the tourist town.

The Rhodia company is an active player in the rare earths business. It is a leading processor of rare earths. In fact, it’s the only fully integrated industrial player to have manufacturing operations and raw material supply both within and outside China.

The plant in La Rochelle has been in operation for more than 50 years.

In the early years, the plant processed rare earths ore concentrates from Australia and China just like Lynas would. For 40 years, the plant was operated in this manner, producing cerium for the world market.

The radioactive thorium residues have been stored within the plant’s 40ha site for the past 50 years. During storage, the residues are regularly monitored by the country’s regulatory authority, the equivalent of our Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB).

They believe the stored thorium salts will become a fuel of the future.

What is clear is that the rare earths processing facility in La Rochelle has been operating for more than five decades without harming the population. Instead, La Rochelle has thrived over the years as an attractive tourist destination not only for the French but also for holiday-makers from other European countries and even as far away as the United States.

Through the deployment of stringent health and safety standards, the chemical plant has been of no consequence to the local community.

Instead, it has contributed to the local economy not only in terms of job opportunities but also tax revenues.

After visiting La Rochelle, it beats me why there are still people who are so hung up on Lynas.”Unquote

Quote: AELB (Atomic Energy Licensing Board, Malaysia):

Malaysia was the world’s no. 1 producer of tin. Along with tin, there’s always Thorium and Uranium and therefore this is not Malaysia’s first facility, AELB is has experience to handle this, to overcome this and AELB is prepared.



AELB has been able to regulate and control these factories, so it is based on AELB experience and the experience of the industry abroad.” Unquote



Warmest regards,

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

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,

Quote: AELB (Atomic Energy Licensing Board, Malaysia):

Malaysia was the world’s no. 1 producer of tin. Along with tin, there’s always Thorium and Uranium and therefore this is not Malaysia’s first facility, AELB is has experience to handle this, to overcome this and AELB is prepared.



AELB has been able to regulate and control these factories, so it is based on AELB experience and the experience of the industry abroad.” Unquote

Warmest regards,

Dato’ Dr Looi

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,

What is the “safe” level of radiation?

Public dose limits for exposure from uranium mining or nuclear plants are usually set at 1 mSv per year above background.

The figures below are given by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP) and its international counterpart, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Both of these organizations offer recommendations for the maximum permissible dose (MPD) of radiation.

General Public annual MPD by both NCRP and ICRP is 1 mSv.

For Radiation Workers, the annual MPD is 50 mSv (NCRP) and 20 mSv (ICRP), with a cumulative MPD of 10 mSv x Age.

MPD during pregnancy is 5 mSv (NCRP) and 2 mSv (ICRP).

However, experts including Professor Wade Allison of Oxford University argue that the dose limit can safely be raised to 100 millisieverts, based on current health statistics.

Compare this with the dose of 0.002 millisieverts/year of exposure for people living within 1 km of the Lynas plant in the worst case scenario (estimated by Lynas).

This level of 0.002 mSv/yr is actually grossly overestimated because the low energy gamma rays from the Thorium-232 decay chain is able to travel less than 300 metres in air.

Note, the average energy of most abundant emission is only 0.059 MeV, though the gamma ray from Thallium-208 decay to stable Lead-208 has a higher energy of 2.62 MeV.

The radon-220 has a very short half life of only 55 seconds and as such cannot travel far and do not accumulate in confined spaces like the radon-222 from the Uranium decay series.

So the actual radiation dose at a distance greater than 300 metres from the plant is approaching 0 mSv/year !

Comparative Dosages in Biological Effect in mSv.

Dose from natural radiation in the human body: 0.40 mSv per year

Sleeping next to someone for 8 hours 0.02 mSv/yr (10x Lynas worst case)

Sleeping in wooden house = 0.20 mSv/yr (100x Lynas worst case)

Smoking a pack of cigarettes daily 0.20 mSv/yr (100x Lynas worst case)

Slag brick and granite house = up to 2.0 mSv/yr (1,000x Lynas worst case)

Chest X-ray = 0.10 mSv

Medical or dental X-ray 0.39 mSv

CT Scan (Chest) = 10 mSv

CT Fluoroscopy of abdomen and pelvis 6 to 90 mSv (median=31 mSv)

Average individual background radiation dose: 2 mSv per year (1.5 mSv per

year for Australians and 3.0 mSv per year for Americans)

Dose from atmospheric sources (mostly radon): 2 mSv per year

Total average radiation dose for Americans: 6.2 mSv per year

Current average dose limit for nuclear workers: 20 mSv per year

Dose from background radiation in parts of Iran, India and Europe: 50 mSv per year

(Source: UNSCEAR and EPA and IAEA)

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!

Sleeping next to someone (i.e. your wife or husband) for 8 hours a day will lead to an exposure of 0.02 mSv/year (Source: UNSCEAR and EPA).

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!

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.

Dr. Gary H. Kramer, who is the Head of the National Internal Radiation Assessment Section at Health Canada:

“Potassium chloride can be found in large quantities in stores selling materials for water treatment. The potassium content is about 500 g kg-
Typically, the material is sold in 20 kg bags so each bag contains ~600 kBq of 40K giving a concentration of 30 Bq g-1. This is well above the exclusion level yet the material is handled as non-radioactive. The external dose rate in close proximity to a typical display in these types of shops would be about 150 microSv hr-1.
A worker would only need to be near the pile for about 7 hours to exceed the public dose limit of 1 mSv.”

Quote: Nick Tsurikov, radiation safety expert:

” In most countries, the current maximum permissible dose to radiation workers is 20 mSv per year averaged over five years, with a maximum of 50 mSv in any one year.

This is over and above background exposure, and excludes medical exposure. The value originates from the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), and is coupled with the requirement to keep exposure as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) — taking into account social and economic factors.” Unquote.

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

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,


“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.

So, it cannot be leached out by water and pollute the rivers. Even if the clay soil is washed into the rivers and sea it will not do any harm as the thorium will still be strongly attached (adsorbed) to the clay and will not dissolve into the water.”

Quote Anti-Lynas:
“Lynas’ snake-oil salesman forgot to tell you that the WLP waste will be roasted in concentrated acid. And in that form, thorium is highly soluble. Unquote

The SOLUBILITY of a substance in a solute like water and ADSORPTION of the substance are 2 separate properties and not the same.

In nature Thorium-232 is found in the form of Monazite (Ce,La,Nd,Th)PO4 i.e. the phosphate of Thorium-232. This is completely insoluble in water.

The next most common ore is Thorite (ThSiO4) which has a gram molecular weight of 324.12 gm. This is also completely insoluble in water.

Practically most of the other thorium compounds are artificially created in the laboratory. The most famous is Thorium dioxide (ThO2) which was used as a radiological contrast media and because it is also insoluble, it is administered intravenously as a colloidal dispersion of thorium-232 dioxide (Thorotrast)

Huge doses of 25cc to 50 cc of a 25%solution of Thorium dioxide (Thorotrast) was injected into the vein or artery in the contrast radiological studies.

The other Thorium salts like the fluorides, chlorides, Iodides, sulfides, selenides, tellurides, nitrides, nitrates, sulphates and other complexes are all artificially synthesized.

All of these have varying degrees of solubility in water. The most soluble will be the nitrates, chlorides and to a lesser degree sulphates. As mentioned above, the oxides, silicates and phosphates are insoluble.

Metallic Thorium-232 is of course totally insoluble in water.


The extremely dangerous herbicide Paraquat is a liquid and is extremely soluble in water. Although it is extremely soluble and dangerous, IT IS NOT LEACHED OUT OF THE SOIL and pollute the rivers because it is STRONGLY ADSORPED BY CLAY SOIL JUST LIKE THORIUM-232.

So Lynas can continue their acid roasting of the ore and with the usual procedures taken, it should not be a problem.

Warmest regards,

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

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,

Members of the anti-lynas crowd have been asking some very childish and ridiculous questions (repeatedly parrotted more as a means of cyber harrrasment than for any form of intellectual benefit).

Some of the best examples are:

1. If you think it is so safe why don’t you eat it?

Answer: Since my cooked SH*T IS ALSO SAFE, would YOU like to eat it?

(What I mean is that if something is safe or not radioactive, it does not necessarily mean that you have to eat it!)

This chain question probably started when one of the young, inexperienced politicians asked another to drink drain water and since then this question has been brainlessly parrotted by some of his followers.

2. If you think it is so safe, why don’t you put it in your fridge?

Answer: Since my cooked SH*T IS ALSO SAFE, why don’t YOU put it in YOUR fridge?

3. If you think there is no radioactivity why don’t you live next to the Lynas plant?

Answer (Short answer. If you want a longer answer, please refer to my posts in other blogs):

A pigs farm or even a huge oil palm factory also do not have any significant radioactivity, so why don’t you live next to it?

4. Can you guarentee me that the the Lynas plant is 100% safe


5. THE MOTHER OF ALL SILLY QUESTIONS, asked by an accountant in Anti-Lynas crowd.

Do you know the difference between

1 sodium metal in the lab and sodium ion in sea water?
2 iron metal power, iron oxide powder, iron salt ions?
3 lead metal , lead oxide , lead ions of the heavy metal ?
4 thorium metal powder, thorium hydroxide and rare earth waste thorium ions as heavy metallic ions ?



Do you know the difference between

1 black hair on your head and brown hair in my the toilet?
2 telekom power, purple coffee powder, blue curry powder?
3 coconut husk, coconut roots, coconut leaves of tall Angsana trees?
4 arsenic tetrahydrococonut, arsenic monodurian, and arsenic as rare earth waste thorium non-ionic as heavy metallic non-submersible non-iron ironic nano-ions nonsense?

The list of infantile unintelligent questions goes on and on and on.

All these continuously repeated and parroted non-physical questions and statements will not serve the anti-lynas objective but only characterise the anti-lynas folk as childish, non-thinking ill-informed people with IQs which I would rather not mention!

Warmest regards,

Dato’ Dr Looi Hoong Wah

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,

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).

As far as radon gas is concerned, it must be remembered that Radon-220 from the decay chain of Thorium-232 has a very short half life of only 55 seconds!

As such only a tiny amount of Radon-220 (a.k.a. Thoron) within a few centimetres of the surface of a huge pile of waste will be able to live long enough to escape from the pile and see the light of day!

A lot of people have mistaken Radon-220 from Thorium-232 decay series with the more notorious Radon-222 which has a much longer half life of 3.8 days. Radon-222 comes from Uranium-238 decay series.

Because of its much longer half life, Radon-222 can and do accumulate in the cellars and poorly ventilated areas of domestic dwellings. Radon-222 is the gas that has been linked to lung cancers in especially non-smokers.

So please do not blame poor Thorium-232. It does not produce any Radon-222 and as such is not guilty of radon induced lung cancers.


Warmest regards,

Dr HW Looi

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,

Quote:The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has warned that the Lynas rare earth processing plant will increase the risk of malignant cancers for those living in the vicinity. Unquote

When we say “MMA says” what we really mean is that ONLY 1 DOCTOR SAYS i.e. THE PRESIDENT OF THE MMA AND NOT ALL THE DOCTORS OR EVEN THE MAJORITY OF THE DOCTORS IN THE MMA because when the president of the MMA says something he did not take a vote of all the doctors or even some of the doctors in the association!

So this is the opinion of just the President of the MMA i.e. just 1 person and not that of ALL the doctors in the association. We have to make this very clear. HE OR SHE DEFINITELY DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ME !

We also have to realize that whenever the head or the president of any group of people says something, there will be people with ulterior motives who, if the statement suits and reinforces their own evil motives, will seize the opportunity to sensationalize the statement.

In the worst case scenario, the radiation risk in the surrounding area will increase by only 0.002 mSv and since the risk of developing cancer is 1 per 20,000 per mSv, the increased risk is 1 in 10,000,000 for people in the Kuantan area.

This chance is as good as striking the FOUR DIGIT LOTTERY 1 THOUSAND TIMES! Let me know if you know of someone who had struck the 4 digit lottery 1,000 times!

But again, consider Ng Ai Soo’s comment:

” 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)

The risk of getting cancer from just 1 of the many coal fired plants in Malaysia is far, far higher than that of the Lynas plant. Pollution from all our other plants and factories are just as bad.

Why this discrimination against Lynas? Why not have a massive demonstration to call for these power plants and all our factories to be closed down and send all the waste products BACK TO AUSTRALIA, GERMANY, JAPAN, TAIWAN, ENGLAND AND THE USA.


Warmest regards,

Dato’ Dr Looi

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,


The answer is a big YES!, provided certain precautions are taken…just like even when crossing a road we have to take certain precautions.

To be frank, I would have no objections if any of my family members who are pregnant want to work in the Lynas plant.

In all the hospitals where I have worked in, I have come across many pregnant nurses, radiologists, doctors and other pregnant female staff members who worked in high radiation risk areas of the Radiology and Radiotherapy departments and I have not come across a single problem affecting the pregnancy or the baby that is related to radiation injury.

The biggest danger to the baby is during the first trimester when development is greatest. In the 2nd and 3rd trimester, the danger is the same as that for an adult.

All staff working in the high radiation areas are provided with a radiation dosimeter. And if the dose is exceed, the pregnant lady is relocated to an area where the radiation is much lower.

Standards for radiation protection in the USA are established by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP) and its international counterpart, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Both of these organizations offer recommendations for the maximum permissible dose (MPD) of radiation to which people should be exposed.

The MPD During Pregnancy by ICRP is 2 mSv while that of the American counterpart NCRP is even higher at 5 mSv.

For flight attendants and pilots, the exposure to radiation are much higher and to date I have not come across any well documented report of any such personnel developing radiation induced malformations or cancers in their babies. There is of course many other reasons why it is not advisable for a flight attendant to continue flying in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy. In the presence of an emergency, a pregnant flight attendant would be more of a liability than a help.

In the Lynas plant, I see no reason why a pregnant woman cannot continue working well into the 3rd trimester, if she so wishes.

Warmest regards,

Dato’ Dr Looi

Dato' Dr HW Looi says:

Dear NK Khoo,

A reader claimed that the actual casualties from Chernobyl is MUCH higher than what establishment acknowledges and may actually run into the thousands.

My reply:

I am aware of the claims that thousands upon thousands of the liquidators (clean up workers) have died but you must remember that there was a total of well over 700,000 liquidators.

The male life expectancy in Russia in 1999 was only 58 years. The accident happened in 1986 i.e. 26 years ago and so all those who were above 32 years old at that time (58 minus 26 years) have already exceeded their normal life expectancy. The average age of the early liquidators were between 20 and 45 years.

So out of the 700,000 people probably a few hundred thousand must have exceeded their life expectance by now and it is not unexpected to find thousands of these people have died by now from causes other than radiation. An UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008.

Quote from IAEA: “Emergency workers or “liquidators” were drafted into the area and helped to clean up the plant premises and the surrounding area. These workers, generally men aged 20 to 45, were mostly plant employees, Ukrainian fire-fighters plus many soldiers and miners from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other parts of the then Soviet Union.
Within the first three months, the group known as the “Early Liquidators”, those first on the scene including plant workers, construction workers and local fire-fighters, lost 28 members to Acute Radiation Sickness. Another 106 persons were treated for the same disease and survived. Nineteen additional patients died over the eight years following the accident, although these were not necessarily associated with radiation exposure
Some 350,000 people involved in the initial clean-up of the plant in 1986-87 received average total body radiation doses of the order of 100 millisieverts (mSv) – a millisievert is a unit of radiation dose equivalent to about 10 general chest x-rays. This dose is about five times the maximum annual dose limit currently permitted for workers in nuclear facilities (20 mSv per year). Average worldwide natural “background” radiation is about 2.4 mSv annually.” Unquote

What I am trying to say is that it is not valid to use the results of the ACUTE HIGH INTENSITY radiation (100 mSv) of Chernobyl to justify evolutionary changes in the chronic low intensity (about 10 mSv/year) radiation found in places like Ramsar.

Warmest regards,

Dato’ Dr Looi