Canada and Kazakhstan Sign Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

November 13, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that Canada and Kazakhstan have signed a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA). Baird made the announcement following a signing ceremony in Astana alongside Asset Issekeshev, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies.

“Kazakhstan is an important partner in the region,” said Baird. “The signing of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement demonstrates growing bilateral relations between Canada and Kazakhstan, and marks our shared commitment to expanding cooperation in the nuclear sector in a safe and secure manner.”

The world’s second-largest uranium-producing country, Canada has a full array of nuclear technology, equipment and services to offer to the growing nuclear energy market. Canada’s nuclear industry generates well over $5 billion in electricity annually and accounts for approximately $1 billion a year in uranium exports.

“This agreement will provide an opportunity for our countries to work together,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. “It will provide access for members of Canada’s nuclear industry to Kazakhstan’s expanding nuclear market and facilitate the exploration of joint commercial ventures and research and development.”

“This is exciting news for the nuclear industry in Saskatchewan and Canada,” said Minister of State Lynne Yelich. “This industry already supports more than 30,000 jobs across our country and agreements such as this will further expand Canada’s export market.”

The two countries will follow their respective domestic processes with a view to bringing the NCA into force in a timely manner.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada-Kazakhstan Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

Canada is committed to promoting greater trade and investment with Kazakhstan, which will help generate new jobs and growth in Canada’s nuclear energy industry, and to strengthening international nuclear safety and security.

To this end, on November 13, 2013, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced that Canada and Kazakhstan have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement (NCA).

Nuclear cooperation agreements provide the framework through which nuclear cooperation is conducted. The agreement with Kazakhstan—together with the administrative arrangements to facilitate implementation—will enable Canadian firms to export and import controlled nuclear materials, equipment and technology to and from Kazakhstan under safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Canada’s nuclear non-proliferation policy establishes the conditions under which Canada may engage in nuclear cooperation with selected partner countries. The Government of Canada tightly regulates the export of nuclear items to ensure that such items are exported only to countries that meet Canada’s stringent non-proliferation and security requirements. Individual exports and imports are subject to licensing under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and the Export and Import Permits Act, which support implementation of Canada’s international commitments on non-proliferation.

The NCA will open up each country’s nuclear markets to the other’s businesses and enable the exchange of a full array of products and services.

Canada’s nuclear industry generates well over $5 billion in electricity annually, accounts for approximately $1 billion a year in uranium exports and directly employs more than 30,000 Canadians.

NCAs provide international treaty-level assurances that nuclear material, equipment and technology originating in the countries involved—in this case, Canada and Kazakhstan—will be used only for civilian and peaceful applications. The provisions of the NCA with Kazakhstan are implemented through administrative arrangements between the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and its counterpart agency in Kazakhstan. The agreement with Kazakhstan, along with the administrative arrangements, will provide access for members of Canada’s nuclear industry to Kazakhstan’s expanding nuclear market and will facilitate the exploration of joint commercial ventures, as well as research and development.