Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Worry grows over Sask. uranium exports

CBC News

Fears that Saskatchewan uranium may be used in weapons have been triggered by a newly signed export agreement with India.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed a nuclear co-operation agreement on Sunday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was in Toronto for the G20 summit. It allows for uranium exports to India and technological exchanges that could be worth billions to Canada's nuclear industry.

Ann Coxworth, of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, said she fears the federal deal could make it possible for Saskatchewan's uranium to end up in weapons.

"We need to very seriously consider whether exporting uranium around the world is the kind of business that we should be in," said Coxworth.

But Lyle Krahn, spokesman for Saskatoon-based uranium producer Cameco, said the agreement is a growth opportunity for his company, which is working to secure overseas uranium markets in places like China and India.

"We feel that aligns nicely with our plan to double uranium production by 2018," said Krahn.

Coxworth said the environmental society is working to raise public awareness in hopes of stopping the India deal.

Deal ends chill
The deal ends decades of chill over India's acquisition of a nuclear bomb. Harper said he believed India's Cold War duplicity has been consigned to history and that it won't use Canadian uranium to build nuclear weapons.

Canada stopped nuclear co-operation with India in 1974 after the government used plutonium from a Canadian reactor to build an atomic bomb. Singh pledged India will play by the rules this time.

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