Canada’s biggest uranium producer Cameco is in advanced talks with India on a deal to supply it fuel for nuclear power plants and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit next week is likely to provide impetus to clinch the agreement, a media report said.
“There is a fairly late-stage negotiation on and I think it’s likely to conclude successfully. I just don’t know whether it’s going to conclude by next week,” Globe and Mail newspaper quoted a source familiar with the Canada-India uranium supply talks as saying.
Stewart Beck, who was Canada’s high commissioner to India between 2010 and 2014, said energy security ranks high for India.
“The visit will, I think, increase the likelihood of a deal being concluded,” Beck said.
Modi has made it clear that obtaining a commercial supply of uranium from Canada’s Cameco Corp is a major goal for him as he gets ready to visit Canada on April 14-16.
“We look forward to resuming our civil nuclear energy cooperation with Canada, especially for sourcing uranium fuel for our nuclear power plants,” Modi posted said on his Facebook page late last week.
Nuclear power is at the heart of a rapprochement between India and Canada in recent years. Canada banned exports of uranium and nuclear hardware to India in the 1970s after New Delhi used Canadian technology to develop a nuclear bomb.
The two countries turned the page with a deal that took effect in 2013.
A commercial deal to export Cameco’s uranium to feed India’s reactors would be another sign to the world that India is recognised as a safe, responsible nuclear power despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The question that remains is whether a uranium supply agreement can be finalised by the time Modi arrives next Tuesday, the paper said.
Senior Cameco executives will be in Ottawa during Modi’s visit and will attend official events.
“We’ve been meeting with government officials and working towards a long-term supply agreement with India. At this point, we have not made any sales to India, but discussions continue,” Cameco spokesman Rob Gereghty said.