Nuclear Agenda on Modi's Canada Tour - New Canadian Media

Nuclear Agenda on Modi’s Canada Tour

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada next month may see a much-awaited commercial agreement being signed paving way for Canada to supply uranium to…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada next month may see a much-awaited commercial agreement being signed paving way for Canada to supply uranium to India.

“We look forward to resuming our civil nuclear energy cooperation with Canada, especially for sourcing uranium fuel for our nuclear power plants,” Modi posted on Facebook.

Sources told Deccan Herald that New Delhi and Ottawa might also announce joint research and development in the field of nuclear energy, focusing on augmenting capacity of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors of India.

A senior government official said that New Delhi and Ottawa might also announce a joint research and development programme, primarily focusing on augmenting capacity of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors in India to 750 MW.

The prime minister will visit Canada from April 14 to 16 after touring France and Germany. He will meet his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in Ottawa and will address business leaders in Toronto in Vancouver.

Modi recently noted that Canada was also the first country to have completed the requirements for civil nuclear cooperation with India after New Delhi secured the waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008.

Historical Context

India and Canada signed the civil nuclear cooperation agreement in 2010 and followed it up by inking the administrative arrangement in 2012. Though India and United States clinched a nuclear deal in 2008, the protracted negotiations over administrative arrangement concluded only recently.

Cameco Corporation of Canada has since long been engaged in commercial negotiation for supplying uranium from its mines in Canada to nuclear power plants in India.

Sources, according to the Deccan Herald, said that a breakthrough in the complex negotiation was expected soon and a deal might be clinched after the Modi-Harper meeting in Ottawa. A senior government official said that New Delhi and Ottawa might also announce a joint research and development programme, primarily focusing on augmenting capacity of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors in India to 750 MW.

Ottawa had snapped its nuke ties with New Delhi after accusing the Indian government of using plutonium produced in a reactor provided by Canada and installed in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Trombay for its first nuclear test in Pokhran in 1974.

The infamous Pokhran desert site test in 1974 triggered howls of outrage around the world and frightened Pakistan into speeding up its own nuclear program.

While working with India then, Canada was training Pakistan‘s nuclear scientists and engineers in Karachi, Ontario and New Brunswick. All of them were working for Pakistan‘s nuclear godfather, Dr. A.Q. Khan.

Canada retaliated by cutting off nuclear assistance to India, but by then the country had transferred enough technology to independently build seven Canadian Candu nuclear reactor ‘clones‘.

In 1998, the Canadian taxpayer funded arms race between Pakistan and India blew up with India detonating five nuclear test bombs prompting Pakistan to explode six of its own.

A New Deal

Canada‘s nuclear relationship with India was reignited by the Stephen Harper government, which signed a nuclear co-operation deal between the two countries in Toronto during the G20 summit.

The deal allows for uranium exports to India and technological exchanges that could be worth billions to Canada’s nuclear industry.

For the India friendly British Columbia government, it’s unclear whether New Delhi’s appetite for uranium may force a rethink on its moratorium on uranium mining in the province.

India’s then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his country will play by the rules this time and consigned the earlier treachery to the history books.

State of Uranium

For the India friendly British Columbia government, it’s unclear whether New Delhi’s appetite for uranium may force a rethink on its moratorium on uranium mining in the province.

According to the Association for Mineral Exploration in BC, Uranium is one of the more common elements in the earth’s crust, and is about 40 times more common than silver and 500 times more common than gold.

Canada is the world’s largest exporter of uranium and has the most stringent regulations and safeguards on its use.

Currently, uranium mines are safely operating in over 20 countries around the world. Canada is the world’s largest exporter of uranium and has the most stringent regulations and safeguards on its use. Uranium and thorium have many positive and beneficial uses, principally in the energy sector and is critical in health care applications.

Although British Columbia has 196 known mineral occurrences of uranium and/or thorium, there has never been an operating uranium mine in the province. A moratorium on uranium exploration in British Columbia was introduced in 1980. The moratorium expired in 1987 and was not renewed.

On April 24, 2008 the Government of British Columbia established a regulation that ensured that any future claims do not include the rights to uranium. On the same day Government declared an effective moratorium on uranium exploration, mining and development. On March 12, 2009, the BC government issued a Cabinet order that stopped any review of proposed uranium and thorium exploration and development in the province.

Legal action has been commenced by a number of mineral claim holders seeking compensation for their loss of their ability to explore for and develop any uranium that may be within their claims.


Republished in partnership with South Asian Post.

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