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May 8, 2015

Repercussions of Canada-India nuclear deal


May 8, 2015

Asia’s first nuclear reactor was Apsara Research Reactor designed and built in India with the technological and material support of Britain. Next research reactor namely CIRUS leading to birth of first Indian nuclear plant, was provided to India by Canada during early sixties.
Provision of CIRUS entailed insignificant strings except one important condition that India to give Canada assurance that it would refrain from using given technology for military purposes. Nevertheless, Canada disregarded to place efficient safeguards against such use of nuclear technology possibly in a state of reliance and self-belief but that was shattered subsequently.
Basing on Canadian nuclear technology of CANDU reactor and materials including free of cost technical and design information by American company ACEL, India built its power plants RAPP-1 and RAPP-2 yet due to misuse of this reactor for military purpose; Canada and American company not only compelled India to close these facilities but also severed nuclear relations with India.
After several decades, India has been able to befool both Canada and America to resume their nuclear relations. India is in the process of acquiring nuclear materials on the excuse of its marginal uranium reserves and country’s dependence on materials and fuel imports for energy production. Previously Russia has remained a major supplier of nuclear fuel to India but in the newly developed strategic arrangement with America, India has been chosen by America and Canada for supply of nuclear materials. India has also been facilitated by Nuclear Supply Group under American pressure, to commence international nuclear trade. Accordingly India has signed bilateral agreements and deals for supply of diverse nuclear materials with France, Australia, UK, USA, Namibia, South Korea and Kazakhstan. According to Indian media large deposits of uranium have already been found in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh and these reserves promise to be

among top twenty of the world’s uranium reserves. Despite this state of reserves, Canada has very recently agreed to supply 4,000 tons of high grade uranium to India to boost India’s nuclear prowess under the garb of energy shortage.
According to a latest study based on their authentic database, followed by a report by James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies (CNS), high risks of theft, smuggling and pilferage mostly during transportation, supply and storage are common factors associated with nuclear and radiological materials. Proliferation through such means is at times due to compromise on requisite security measures at all stages including transportation and storage of sensitive CBRN materials. The report compiled by the CNS Global Incidents and Trafficking Database funded by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), is quite thought provoking especially in the current scenario when Canada and other countries have decided to supply significantly large nuclear materials to India from across continents. Naturally these materials already stored will be supplied through different means including ships, trucks, rail and many other supply transition processes and ultimately again stored within India. Since the CNS report is based on logic therefore the chances of nuclear security risks before, during and after supply process seems significantly high.
According to the exhibited misgiving of global powers and their protégés including India, various terrorists groups not only in South Asia but in other continents including Americas, Africa and Europe are looking for acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials. In this regard Pakistan’s nuclear system is specifically being bullied frequently for possible theft or falling of material into wrong hands. It is fact that terrorists cannot carry out an act of CBRN attack unless they can access the necessary ingredients to attain the requisite capability of making a device. For a terrorist-constructed nuclear weapon, commonly termed an improvised nuclear device (IND), this means acquiring kilogram quantities of fissile materials, namely highly enriched uranium (HEU) or separated plutonium. Thus, securing storage, supply means and thefts of nuclear or other dangerous material globally by suppliers like Canada and buyers like India, is vital to the prevention of CBRN terrorism.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) is the most well-known archive but no other database of this type is both globally comprehensive and freely available to the public despite several international organizations and research institutions maintain similar products of high risks. CNS report has highlighted the risk associated with unauthorised possession, as well as unintentional acts, such as losses, misrouted deliveries or accidental discovery. Looking seriously at the material supplies to India from Canada and elsewhere to ward off any untoward incident of grave humanitarian nature including falling material into wrong hand is very important because each incident entails huge security implications.
The CNS database that has brought forward certain details about alarming incidents involving the loss of CBRN materials is commendable. According to this well researched report most of the incidents of loss of sensitive materials has taken place in Americas followed by Europe but drum beating of falling such materials into the hands of terrorists by these countries is directed towards Pakistan only. The CNS database has identified 325 incidents occurring in 38 different countries during the past two years. Total of 155 cases in 28 countries and 170 cases in 28 countries were reported in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The majority of incidents occurred in the US (58%), followed by Canada (9%), France (6%t), Russia (3%) and Australia (2%). In January 2013, an army patrol in the northeastern state of Assam, India discovered an improvised explosive device underneath a police station containing 1.5 kg of uranium in an unknown form. This device was reportedly linked to a rebel group known as the UFLA, which had issued a series of threats to carry out bombings prior to the device’s discovery, actually stolen from an India secure storage maintained by Indian strategic forces. In 2014, the database recorded its first credible highly enriched uranium (HEU) incident involving an instrument which went missing at a US nuclear power plant, said to be highly secured and protected. Pakistan has no history of such an incident despite an incessant drum beating by the global powers and their stooges. Rekindled Canada-India nuclear deal needs to be critically observed by global policy makers from the angle as elaborated by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).

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