Canada-India Nuclear Deal Moves Forward


Bryn Levy, Saskatoon News – TRANSCEND Media Service

8 Apr 2013 – Announcement made at Cameco headquarters in Saskatoon.

Saskatchewan uranium could soon be bound for India as the federal government wraps up a new trade deal.

In an event at Cameco headquarters in Saskatoon, federal Minister of Natural Rescources Joe Oliver announced Ottawa has concluded one of the last major steps in its nuclear cooperation agreement with India by signing what is referred to in diplomatic-speak as an appropriate arrangement.

The arrangement brings the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on board to keep tabs on India’s use of Canadian uranium. This is an effort to make sure Canadian uranium doesn’t find its way into India’s nuclear weapons program.

Canada had halted sales of uranium, reactors and other nuclear materials and equipment to India in the 1970s. This was a response to India’s detonation of a nuclear device in 1974 that was built using a Canadian reactor.

Oliver said he’s confident IAEA monitoring will ensure Canada’s nuclear materials are used for peaceful purposes.

He added that India’s huge appetite for electricity these days is also likely to keep them honest this time around. Currently. India consumes the 4th most electricity in the world, and they plan to triple their power generation in the next 25 years.

“They have to build and they intend to build dozens of new nuclear reactors. Of course, in order to continue to obtain the rescources, the raw material needed to do that. They’re going to need to comply with non-proliferation treaties,” he said.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was on hand for the announcement. After expressing his gratitude to the federal government for its efforts on the file, he noted Saskatchewan’s “special relationship” with India.

“Of all of India’s imports from Canada our province accounted for 44 per cent, and that’s without uranium. Frankly, that’s basically potash and pulses,” he said.

He went on to point out that more markets for Canadian uranium will translate into jobs in the province. With Cameco as the country’s leading uranium producer, and their record of employing First Nations and Metis people, he said many of those jobs are likely to go to aboriginals in the north.

Oliver also pointed to the potential benefits for Cameco.

“We understand that there may be an additional $3 billion in business for Cameco over the next couple of decades. So it’s very significant,” he said.

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