KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (Bernama) -- The basics on rare earth elements should be
taught in schools and universities to avoid misinformation on the unique
minerals, a symposium was told today.
Experts pointed out that rare earth elements are safe with proper handling
despite concerns raised by the Malaysian public that they are hazardous to the
people''s health and environment.
Radiation protection expert Christoph Wilhem said people should be educated
with the basics in schools itself.
"People still think that radioactivity equates to having a nuclear meltdown.
You have to teach people the basics of this things in schools and universities
because there is a lot of misinformation out there," he told reporters after
attending the day-long International Rare Earth Symposium here today.
Earlier, during the panel discussion, Wilhem, the head of Analytical
Safety Management Department of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany,
said the radiation level of the rare earth industry was under control, and there
was no concrete evidence the minerals had a significant risk on workers.
EXPERTS-RARE EARTH 2 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR
"The radiation control standard of the rare earth extracting process is
under control, and it has not reached the level of radiation caused by a nuclear
plant, which has raised concerns among the public that it can cause cancer,"
Meanwhile, China''s Peking University Professor, Dr Yan Chun-Hua said China
had developed a rare earth plant since three decades ago, which had helped raise
the income of its people.
However, he suggested that there should be "pre-control management" of rare
earth residues to ensure that there they did not affect the people and
Canadian rare earth expert Alastair S. Neill said there was a
need for more open and transparent public engagement between the government and
the public when building a rare earth plant.
"Be more open, communicative and consultative with the locals and the
country as general," he suggested when asked on the Lynas Advanced Materials
Plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.
The symposium,aimed at disseminating factual information on rare earth
processing and refining as well as exposing potential down-stream business
opportunities, was attended by several parties including members of Parliament
and state assemblymen, academicians and business leaders.
NAN HK HA