Canadian Prime Minister strikes nuclear cooperation agreement with India

Canadian Prime Minister strikes nuclear cooperation agreement with India

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on his second trip to India right now.  Based on progress yesterday, here is what their office announced relating to nuclear energy cooperation.  18 of India’s 20 nuclear reactors use heavy-water technology, and the first such reactor in India was supplied by a Canadian company.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, together with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, announced the conclusion of negotiations for the Administrative Arrangement (AA) between Canada and India that will allow the implementation of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA), signed between the two countries in June 2010.
The Nuclear Cooperation Agreement – together with the Administrative Arrangement (AA) through which it will be implemented – will allow Canadian firms to export and import controlled nuclear materials, equipment and technology to and from India to facilities subject to safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Individual exports and imports are also subject to licensing under the Canadian Nuclear Safety and Control Act and the Candian Export and Import Permits Act.

Canada’s nuclear non-proliferation policy establishes the conditions under which Canada may engage in nuclear cooperation with selected partner countries. Now that the negotiations for the AA are complete, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and India’s Department of Atomic Energy will formally sign them and the Governments of Canada and India will take the necessary steps to bring the NCA into force in a “timely manner”.

The NCA will provide access for members of Canada’s nuclear industry to India’s expanding nuclear market and facilitate the exploration of joint commercial ventures and research and development.
Nuclear energy production in Canada generates about $5 billion in annual revenues. Canada’s nuclear industry is responsible for 21,000 direct jobs and a billion dollars a year in uranium exports.

What this means

Since Canada and India are the world’s largest uses of heavy water technology for nuclear energy production, cooperation between the two countries is natural and good for both countries and their companies. It can improve safety, efficacy, and productive employment in both countries in addition to producing non-carbon emitting energy.

Canadian companies are soon going to need to find a meaningful answer to the term “timely” referred to in the Harper statement above. There are opportunities for two-way collaboration; for example Canada hasn’t actually produce any heavy water for some time and is dependent on stored reserves to supply its current fleet.


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