Old collaborators in the field of peaceful nuclear technologies – India and Canada – signed a broad framework for research in the field of testing and designing of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) and other non-power atomic technologies. The arrangement was signed on February 23 during the visit of Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau to India.
Prime Minister Trudeau’ visit to India was in news for the political tussle between the Indian and Canadian government but a lot of work was also done. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Department of Natural Resources of Canada concerning cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation.
“The MoU is a broad framework arrangement for enhancing cooperation in research and development activities with Canada. The MoU facilitates mutual consultations on the areas of new material development and testing, design of advanced Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs), structural components of reactor systems including inspection and quality assurance programs, sharing of operational information, non-power application of radiation isotope technology, etc,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to the Parliament.
The MoU will be valid for a period of five years and can be renewed further through mutual consultations. Canada had put nuclear sanctions against India after the 1974 Pokharan nuclear tests. However, it renewed nuclear cooperation with India after over four decades in 2015 through a contract signed for the supply of seven million pounds of Uranium over the next five years. The deal was signed during the Canada visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India-Canada civil nuclear cooperation dates back to mid-1950s when the nuclear reactor CIRUS was supplied to India under the ‘Atom for Peace Programme’ for civilian use of nuclear energy. India’s indigenous nuclear reactors are based on Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) technology.