India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) shakes hands with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper during Harper's ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi November 6, 2012. Harper is on a six-day state visit to India. (REUTERS/B Mathur)
NEW DELHI — Canadian uranium will once again be used to power Indian nuclear reactors, leaders of the two countries announced here Tuesday.
Canada had banned sales of uranium and nuclear technology to India after India used Canadian nuclear know-how to build its atomic bomb in 1974.
The revelation that Canadian technology helped give India the bomb prompted Canada to suspend all nuclear programs with India, including a ban on uranium sales. India's nuclear betrayal also chilled broader Canada-India relations for decades.
But for Canada, all is now forgiven.
“Being able to resolve these issues and move forward is, we believe, a really important economic opportunity for an important Canadian industry, a part of the energy industry, that should pay dividends in terms of jobs and growth for Canadians down the road,” Harper told reporters here.
“We are very confident about the administrative arrangements that we’ve signed … to confirm that they achieve all of our objectives in terms of non-proliferation.”
When Harper visited India in 2009, he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to develop some new rules that would give India access to Canadian nuclear technology.
A key sticking point for Canada was ensuring that it would be able to keep track of any uranium shipped to India. Canada does not want its uranium or technology ending up, for example, in the hands of Iran via India.
Canada will rely on audits by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be certain India is using Canadian materials and technology safely.
Canada earns about $1 billion a year in uranium exports.