India-Canda Uranium Deal

Critically examine the context and significance of the uranium supply deal that was signed between Prime Ministers of India and Canada. (200 Words)

India’s economy has seen rapid expansion, resulting in a surge in demand for energy. As a result, India is looking to increase its dependence on nuclear energy. India has 22 nuclear reactors and plans to build some 40 more in the next two decades. India and Russia sign civil nuclear agreement, ensuring nuclear fuel supply for Kudankulam plant. Uranium supply deal is also signed with Kazakhstan and Australia. Local uranium enrichment is also gaining momentum by:
  1. Expanding military gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility at Ratnahalli enrichment plant
  2. Building large unsafeguarded centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Chitradurga District (Karnataka) But, India plans to generate 45,000 MW of nuclear power by 2032 – an almost 14-fold increase on current levels.
Though agreement was reached in 2012 with Canada, but differences over the supervision of the use of uranium in India delayed ratification of the deal. Canada banned the sale of uranium and nuclear hardware to India after India used Canadian technology to make its nuclear bomb.
Importance of this deal:
  1. It is also politically vital because long restriction of trade came to an end which shows trust in India’s Non-proliferation commitments on international platform.
  2. This deal will also diversify sources of uranium supply to India which is necessary for uninterrupted fuel supply to India’s Nuclear Power reactors.
  3. Help in controlling climate change in India
Announcement of Canada to supply uranium to India boosts India’s plan to increase its nuclear capacity to meet growing energy demand.
While giving context on local uranium enrichment is good, not sure if it is needed here. Second, I would expand more on the importance of deal i.e. How it falls in line with recent deals with US, it’s likely impact on the Indo- Japanese (Agreement with Japan can help us gain credibility, seek entry into NSG, MCTR + nuclear tech for our reactors) + how it can aid in technology transfer, enhance capability of NPCIL.
Presently GoI is focusing on nuclear energy; to meet growing energy needs of our economy. By 2032, India is expected to have 45000 MW of nuclear capacity; making assured supply of nuclear fuel (uranium) absolutely essential; moreover indigenous uranium production is too meagre about 350-400 MT.
Thus a need arises for India to:
  1. Establish reliable partnership with countries which can fulfil our uranium requirements.
  2. Pursue bilateral agreements with such countries to ensure an assured uranium supply. it is pertinent to mention that globally Canada is the largest producer of uranium; it is in this context that, the recent India-Canada uranium supply deal under which Cameco Crop, Canada’s largest uranium producer will supply 3220 metric tonnes of uranium concentrate for Indian nuclear power reactors over five years, assumes special significance.
Significance of deal:
  1. Marks a fruitful conclusion of two years of protracted negotiations that followed the 2013 civil nuclear deal between two countries.
  2. India diversifies its uranium supply; as it already has supply agreements with Australia and Kazakhstan.
  3. Ensures energy security for India in future; beneficial to economy.
  4. Upholds our commitment to cleaner environment.
The deal is a booster for Indo-Canadian ties; marks an end to moratorium by Canada on nuclear trade with India since 1974.



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