Canada-China uranium protocol signed

23 July 2012

Canadian mining companies can now sell more uranium to China after diplomats from both countries met in Beijing to sign a new protocol.

According to foreign affairs minister John Baird, the protocol - which supplements the 1994 Canada-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement - will "give Canadian companies greater access to one of the world's largest and fastest-expanding economies, creating new jobs, growth and long-term prosperity."

China in turn will benefit from access to supplies of Canadian uranium that will help fuel its growing nuclear power fleet. The country currently has 15 power reactors in operation and another 26 under construction as it seeks to meet rapidly growing energy demand.

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade estimates that each year the nuclear industry generates revenue of C$5 billion ($4.9 billion) through power production. It also exports about C$1 billion worth of uranium and directlys employ about 21,000 people.

Canadian uranium mining giant Cameco immediately welcomed the news. In a statement, company president and CEO Tim Gitzel noted: "The ability to export Canadian-sourced uranium to China is incredibly important to our company... It will mean more jobs, more development and more investment here in Canada by Cameco and other uranium producers hoping to access this huge and growing market for nuclear energy."

The signing on 19 July follows the conclusion of negotiations in early February. Canada is the second largest uranium exporting country in the world, reponsible for some 19% of global supply.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News