The Canadian nuclear industry has welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India to resume nuclear trade between the two countries after three decades, saying it could result in deals worth billions of dollars.
The MoU was signed by the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and India's Larson & Toubro earlier this week during the visit of Canadian international trade minister Stockwell Day to India.
The minister was accompanied by CEOs from the nuclear industry, including Cameco Corp, which is the world's largest traded mining company, and SNC Lavalin Nuclear, which is a leader in nuclear technology.
Canada, which donated nuclear technology to India in the early 1950s, banned all nuclear ties with New Delhi after the 1974 Pokhran test, alleging that India used its CANDU technology to make the bomb.
CANDU stands for Canadian Deuterium Uranium in reference to the use of natural uranium and deuterium oxide (heavy water) in Canadian-invented reactors.
However, Ottawa changed its nuclear policy towards India last year when it voted with other nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to allow New Delhi access to nuclear technology and fuel.
Hailing the MoU, the Organisation of CANDU Industries (OCI) - the nuclear industry's umbrella body - said Friday that it will bring Canada business worth billions of dollars.
It said ``the quick action by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and the Government of Canada that has resulted in a memorandum of understanding being signed with India's Larson & Toubro for co-operation on the ACR-1000, the latest generation of CANDU reactors.''
Under the MOU, Canada will develop ``a competitive cost model for the ACR-1000'' which can be sold to India.
OCI president Neil Alexander said: ``This .could lead to billions of dollars of business opportunities for Canadian companies.''
``We are extremely optimistic about the possibility for direct sales and partnership arrangements with Indian companies that will open up broader export opportunities for Canada's nuclear industry.''