Last updated: 5 March, 2012

Canada enters nuclear talks with UAE

Canada began talks Monday with the United Arab Emirates on nuclear cooperation, hoping to sell the wealthy Gulf state nuclear reactors or technologies for power generation and other civilian purposes.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said he discussed the launch of negotiations with visiting Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his UAE counterpart.

“Such an agreement would create business opportunities for Canada’s nuclear industry and create jobs in both our countries,” Baird said in a statement.

The prospects for the nuclear power industry plunged worldwide after Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant was crippled by a nuclear meltdown and explosions caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami a year ago.

Last year, Ottawa sold its Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s money-losing nuclear reactor sales and servicing division to SNC-Lavalin, the country’s largest engineering company.

The government announced in February it was also seeking private sector proposals to oversee AECL’s nuclear research laboratories and radioactive waste disposal, in a bid to save government cash.

Uranium production in Canada is expected to increase significantly next year as a new mine opens.