Owning to recent civilian nuclear pacts signed between India-Canada and China-Pakistan and foreseeing the rise of nuclear power generation as an alternate energy source, both China and India are increasing imports of uranium from Canada.
Cameco, one of the world’s largest uranium miners, said Canada could soon be exporting 2,000 tonnes of uranium to India annually. India expects to have 12 new reactors running by 2020, consuming an extra 1,500 tonnes of uranium per year. Other projects are expected, making India’s civilian nuclear sector worth US$25-billion to US$50-billion over the next 20 years. Besides Canada India has also signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the USA, Russia, France, UK, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Namibia, although Australia another major uranium exporter has refused to sell uranium to India unless it signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Cameco also recently signed an agreement with China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC), a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), to supply China’s largest nuclear generator with uranium concentrate under a long-term agreement through 2020. The deal would see Cameco supplying approximately 23 million pounds over the next 10 years to CNNC, which currently operates seven reactors with a total capacity of 5,100 MW. The state-owned CNNC, in operation for nearly 50 years, expects to be one of the world’s leading nuclear power companies by 2020 with 10 reactors under construction totaling capacity of 9,100 MW.
Cameco also has also agreed to pursue long-term non binding co-operation opportunities with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co., Ltd. (CGNPC) to supply uranium fuel for its growing fleet of nuclear power plants. This agreement will see a strategic alliance between Cameco and China’s largest clean-energy enterprise with the largest number of nuclear power plants under construction in the world. CGNPC needs uranium to fuel its four existing reactors and indicates that it has about 20,000 MW of nuclear capacity under construction with expectations of over 50,000 MW on-line by 2020.
Chinese estimates indicate the country is expecting to increase its nuclear capacity from the current 9 GW to at least 70 GW by 2020 with a further increase to at least 120-160 GW planned by 2030.