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India, Canada Conclude Talks on Uranium Sales, Harper Says

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada concluded negotiations with India to export uranium and other nuclear supplies for civilian use.

The two countries completed talks on an administrative agreement that will enable Canadian companies such as Cameco Corp. to sell nuclear materials, equipment and technology to the world’s 10th-largest economy, according to a statement released by Harper’s office today.

“Certainly we can see the future now,” Tim Gitzel, chief executive officer of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco, said today in a telephone interview. “With the Indians building reactors the way they are, this is going to be a long-term game.”

India and Canada must still sign the deal for it to take effect. It will allow them to implement a cooperation pact Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed in 2010. Harper met Singh today in New Delhi as part of a six-day trip to India.

Exports of Canadian uranium to India, which also has nuclear warheads, have been held up by disagreement over how the commodity should be tracked.

Canada has asked the fuel to be traced through a system used in similar deals it has with other countries. India has said such measures aren’t necessary because it already complies with standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Peaceful Purposes

A committee of Canadian and Indian officials will ensure exports are used for peaceful purposes, according to the statement released today.

As of last month, India had 20 operable nuclear reactors, compared with China’s 15 and Canada’s 18, according to data from the World Nuclear Association. India also has seven reactors under construction and plans to build a further 18, the data show.

“If they’re building now, they’re going to need uranium for those reactors for the next 30, 40, 50 years,” Cameco’s Gitzel said. “We’ll see the benefits of an agreement in long-term supply contracts.”

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