Malaysia

AELB: Penang solar plant will not produce radioactive waste

A solar panel board is pictured at a base transmission station in Kajiado, October 1, 2009. — Reuters picA solar panel board is pictured at a base transmission station in Kajiado, October 1, 2009. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Claims that the Bosch solar panel plant in Penang will produce radioactive waste are “not so accurate”, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) said today.

The nation’s nuclear regulator pointed out that such plants “do not generally produce or emit radioactive material and so are not subject to the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984”.

“The article in The Mole which refers to the AELB director-general’s statement on the solar panel project in Batu Kawan, Penang is not so accurate and has caused confusion among some parties.

“The AELB director-general did inform The Mole on March 21, 2012 that, as of that date, AELB had not received any application declaring that the plant will use radioactive material.

“If the plant does not use or produce any radioactive material, the company does not have to get a licence from AELB to operate,” it said in a statement.

AELB added that if Bosch decides to use any apparatus or gauge at the plant that includes a radioactive sealed source to measure products for quality control, it will have to apply to the regulator for a licence.

Allegations that Robert Bosch GmbH’s multi-million solar panel site will produce radioactive waste emerged earlier this month soon after the government’s plans for a parliamentary select committee on Lynas Corp’s rare earth plant was announced.

The formation of the panel, which will hear “scientific and fact-based views” from stakeholders on the controversial refinery, was approved by the Dewan Rakyat on March 20.

On March 21, pro-Umno blog The Mole quoted AELB director-general Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan as saying that the Bosch plant “will produce radioactive material” and would therefore need licence from the regulator.

Construction of the plant in Batu Kawan, which will have a capacity of 640MW per year is scheduled to begin later this year.

Bosch has said that the plant will be a key part of its globalisation efforts to further cut costs and increase energy yields.

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