Canada and Kazakhstan - the top two uranium producing countries in the world - have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement, four years after agreeing the text of it.
|The administrative arrangements for the Canada-Kazakh agreement are signed, overlooked by Baird and Issekeshev (standing at rear) (Image: CNSC)
The agreement was signed in Astana by Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird and Kazakhstan's deputy prime minister and minister of industry and new technologies Asset Issekeshev.
Administrative arrangements to enable the agreement to be implemented were then signed by Canada's ambassador to Kazakhstan Stephen Millar and Mazhit Sharipov, chairman of the Committee of Atomic Energy of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Industry and New Technologies (MINT).
The nuclear cooperation agreement - together with the administrative arrangements - will enable Canadian and Kazakh companies to export and import controlled nuclear materials, equipment and technology under safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The two countries concluded negotiations on the text of a nuclear cooperation agreement and signed a letter of intent in September 2009.
Baird commented, "The signing of the nuclear cooperation agreement demonstrates growing bilateral relations between Canada and Kazakhstan, and marks our shared commitment to expanding cooperation in the nuclear sector in a safe and secure manner."
In a statement, MINT said, "In particular, the agreement opens the way for the start of production and refining further conversion of uranium ore for production of fuel for nuclear power plants at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP)."
Cameco welcomes accord
Canadian uranium company Cameco welcomed the signing of the agreement. It said that the agreement "opens opportunities to advance our partnership with KazAtomProm which will strengthen our business and support continued growth."
Cameco holds a 60% stake in a joint venture with Kazakhstan's state-owned KazAtomProm that owns and operates the Inkai in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mine and processing plant in central Kazakhstan.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News