SASKATOON - Canada and India have taken the next step towards full implementation of a nuclear co-operation agreement.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and India's Department of Atomic Energy have finalized an arrangement that is to allow Canadian companies to export nuclear items to India for peaceful uses.
The announcement made at Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) in Saskatoon on Monday comes after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, sealed a nuclear deal last November.
A nuclear co-operation agreement had been signed more than two years ago, but its implementation stalled over the details.
Canada wanted more oversight over where the products wound up.
The agreement ensures Canadian exports only go to facilities in India under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
India has announced plans to build 12 new reactors by 2021, so the Asian country's demand for uranium yellowcake is expected to triple to about $650 million in annual purchases.
All of the Canadian uranium to be exported to India is produced in Saskatchewan, the world's second-leading producer of uranium behind Kazakhstan.
"It is a robust, civilian nuclear market in that country," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said after the announcement. "They are building more reactors, second only to China.
"This is sort of the final step. Now we get to the real nitty-gritty where ... export permits can be negotiated by companies and we can see the movement of Saskatchewan uranium into the market."
Wall pointed out that of all India's imports from Canada, Saskatchewan accounts for 44 per cent.
"And that's without uranium," he said. "That's basically potash and pulses, so we punch above our weight in that ... fast-growing economy.
"Now we're going to see that position improve because uranium is going to get added to that list in the years to come."
— With files from CJWW
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