OTTAWA—Canada and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) have finalized a nuclear co-operation agreement (NCA) to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations and create business opportunities for Canadians.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his U.A.E. counterpart, signed the agreement yesterday afternoon in Ottawa.
“This pact is testimony to bilateral ties that are strong and getting ever stronger,” says Baird. “Our access to the U.A.E.’s civilian nuclear energy market will create business opportunities and help to create jobs for Canadians, while ensuring that Canadian-supplied nuclear items are used for peaceful, civilian purposes.”
The U.A.E. has actively been pursuing international collaboration to kickstart its nuclear power industry. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation aims to have its first nuclear power plant, Barakah Units 1 and 2, operational by 2017. In August, it signed an agreement with Australia to co-operate on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It has also penned co-operation deals with the U.S., France and has gained support for its nuclear energy program from the U.K.
In August, ENEC announced it has signed contracts with six international companies, including the Toronto-based Uranium One Inc., to supply natural uranium for the Barakah Plant. The remaining five contracts were awarded to ConverDyn in Englewood, Col., Urenco and Rio Tinto, both headquartered in the U.K., Russia’s Tenex, and France’s Areva.
Officials say the NCA also enables Canada to ensure its uranium is exported safely to the U.A.E., which is Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East.
“Canada can help the U.A.E. meet its growing energy needs,” says Baird. “This agreement provides a number of opportunities for our countries to work together as strategic partners, and for Canadian companies to offer the full array of their equipment, services and uranium supply to the U.A.E.’s civilian nuclear market.”
There is also work being done to establish a Canada-U.A.E. business council in the works to strengthen business and trade ties.