On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada and India have reached an agreement over nuclear technology.
After nearly 40 years, Canada will again export nuclear reactors and uranium to India, ending a penalty 1976 Canada had imposed on India. Two years previously, India secretly tested its first nuclear weapon it called “Smiling Buddha,” using material from an Indian reactor built by Canada.
From the Financial Post:
“Being able to resolve these issues and move forward is, we believe, a really important economic opportunity for an important Canadian industry, part of the energy industry, that should pay dividends in terms of jobs and growth for Canadians down the road,” Harper said during a visit to New Delhi.
Canada and India had already reached a pact affirming nuclear cooperation two years ago, but no real details had been worked out. Even now, Harper has not provided any timeline for the new deal.
But India hopes to add around 30 reactors, thus raising its nuclear capacity to 63,000 MW within the next two decades.
Presently, India has about 20 small reactors with a total capacity of 4,780 MW. That’s 2 percent of the country’s total power capacity.
The initial news of this deal doesn’t mention any safeguards to prevent India from using Canadian material for developing nuclear bombs. This had, apparently, been a major issue to work around in developing the deal.
Stewart Beck, Canadian ambassador to India, stated that Canada’s position is that it should be able to track all of its supplied nuclear material. India, however, appears to desire to report solely to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
India seems to be in a sweet spot in terms of nuclear development as the nation works to increase its energy sources. Australia, too, is working up a deal that will permit it to safely sell uranium to India— making Canada its rival.
Companies like Cameco Corp. (TSX: CCO) of Canada, a massive uranium producer, would benefit from access to the Indian market. The Canadian firm SNC Lavalin (TSX: SNC) also stands to benefit; Lavalin developed the widely-used Candu reactor.