The Politics of CANDU Exports

The Politics of CANDU Exports

DUANE BRATT
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442682078
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  • Book Info
    The Politics of CANDU Exports
    Book Description:

    InThe Politics of CANDU Exports, Duane Bratt provides a comprehensive history of the export of the Canada Deuterium-Uranium (CANDU) reactor - a pressurized heavy water natural-uranium power reactor designed and marketed by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Bratt examines every CANDU sale, as well as some important unsuccessful sales attempts, from 1956 to the present. He also outlines the impact that changes in the international political climate such as the creation and strengthening of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and the increasing importance of human rights and environmental protection, have had on CANDU exports over the last fifty years.

    Bratt's study attempts to develop a framework for understanding the ebb and flow of the influences of different foreign policy objectives on Canada's decision-making process. There are litanies of economic and political interests that Canadian governments have hoped to serve by exporting CANDUs, interests such as economic gain, containing communism, and assisting the developing world. Yet, Canada has additional foreign policy objectives such as national security, the protection of human rights, and preservation of the environment, which constrain the desire to export CANDUs. Furthermore, the nature of the debate surrounding CANDU exports has changed over time. Bratt shows that while the traditional debate over CANDU exports was between Canada's commercial interests and its security concerns, since the early 1990s a new debate focused on two separate planes of argument has emerged. The economic benefits of exporting the CANDU reactors are now weighed against the economic cost of extensive government subsidies; while the environmental benefits of CANDU exports are measured against the environmental costs of building and promoting nuclear power.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8207-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. List of Acronyms
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    In 2002, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. AECL is the Crown corporation in charge of the design, development, supervision of construction, and sale of the Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) nuclear power reactor. While AECL celebrated its anniversary with a number of commemorative events, questions about the future of the CANDU and the Canadian nuclear industry abounded. In recent years, a number of major incidents have dramatically increased public attention on the Canadian nuclear industry. In 1996, Canada announced the sale of two CANDU nuclear reactors valued at $4 billion to China. In 1997, Ontario Hydro...

  7. 2 Justifying CANDU Exports
    (pp. 19-40)

    CANDU exports are not normal business transactions. They require a long-term, intensive, and expensive bid process and are frequently accompanied by high-level government involvement. For example, the Turkish Electrical Authority (TEK) asked for preliminary proposals in October 1992 and, for eight years, kept changing the bid process before finally announcing its decision to cancel the project in July 2000. In its pursuit of the nuclear contract, AECL spent several million dollars redrafting and refining its bid, and even enlisted Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s lobbying in Ankara on its behalf. A further political complication is the significant anti-nuclear movement that has...

  8. 3 Constraints on CANDU Exports
    (pp. 41-86)

    Canada’s economic and political interests in exporting CANDUs are balanced by other security, political, and economic interests that have been prominent in the debate. These objectives, taken individually or as a group, have usually been seen as constraints. However, it is important to note that there have been times when these considerations have, in fact, facilitated exports. For example, it has been argued that international trade, including nuclear exports, can actually be used to change the human rights record of other countries. Similarly, maintaining nuclear cooperation with developing countries can help to prevent environmental disasters. Thus, while this chapter may...

  9. 4 The Need to Establish Markets, 1945-1974
    (pp. 87-116)

    The initial period of Canada’s nuclear reactor export policy was between 1945 and 1974. The central theme of this period was Canada’s need to establish foreign markets for its unique technology of a heavywater nuclear reactor. Although a number of sales were concluded, particularly to India, the early years of Canada’s efforts to export nuclear reactors were not especially successful economically. It discovered that the market for nuclear reactors was small and competition, especially from the Americans, was keen. In addition, there was a nagging feeling that grew throughout the years that Canada might be unwittingly supporting the nuclear weapons...

  10. 5 Strengthening Safeguards, 1974-1976
    (pp. 117-149)

    On 18 May 1974, India exploded a nuclear device in the Rajasthan desert. The Pokhran test made India the sixth member of the world’s ‘nuclear club/ despite the Indian government’s official position that its nuclear initiative was for peaceful purposes only. India was able to explode this device using plutonium that had been diverted from the CIRUS nuclear research reactor. As a consequence of its actions, both the international non-proliferation regime and Canada’s nuclear export policy were challenged.

    The reaction in India to the explosion was euphoric. There was a feeling that it had joined the ranks of the great...

  11. 6 Suffering the Consequences, 1977-1989
    (pp. 150-173)

    By the end of 1976, it was evident that Canada’s security concern over the threat of nuclear proliferation had become the dominant foreign policy goal related to CANDU exports, overriding any commercial interests. The measures that Canada had taken between 1974 and 1976 to strengthen its nuclear non-proliferation policy thus had a major impact during the 1977-89 period. Canada was obliged to face the economic consequences for its unilateral actions during the preceding three years. Throughout this period, Canada had to confront the question of whether or not CANDU exports were compatible with a stringent nuclear non-proliferation policy.

    From an...

  12. 7 Nuclear Renaissance, 1990-1996
    (pp. 174-196)

    The 1980s were dark times for AECL and the rest of the Canadian nuclear industry. The nuclear market had dried up. Opportunities for new reactor sales were scarce. To make matters worse, Canada’s sales efforts in Argentina, Japan, and other countries were being hindered by its nuclear safeguards policies. There were growing indications that Ottawa was going to pull the plug on its continued support of nuclear research and development. Supporters and critics could finally agree: the future of an independent Canadian nuclear industry was in serious jeopardy.

    However, the arrival of the 1990s brought a nuclear renaissance. In 1990,...

  13. 8 New Challenges and New Opportunities, 1997-2005
    (pp. 197-225)

    How will the clash between Canada’s economic and political interests and its normative foreign policy objectives play out in future CANDU exports? The historical record, as described in chapters 4 to 7, has shown that Canada’s economic and political interests have tended to strongly outweigh any other considerations. Only in very rare circumstances have Canada’s other foreign policy objectives determined an important decision over CANDU exports. For example, fears over nuclear proliferation rose in ascendancy only in the immediate aftermath of the 1974 Indian nuclear test. The human rights record of potential recipient regimes acted as a constraining influence only...

  14. 9 Explaining CANDU Exports
    (pp. 226-238)

    This book has provided the most comprehensive account of the history of CANDU exports to date. Every CANDU sale, and even some unsuccessful attempts, from 1956 to the present has been examined in great detail. It has also traced the changes that have occurred in the international environment throughout the history of CANDU exports. For example, the book has charted the development of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime through the creation of institutions and treaties such as the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). It has also illustrated the increasing...

  15. Appendix: Basics of Nuclear Energy
    (pp. 239-246)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 247-290)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 291-306)
  18. Index
    (pp. 307-319)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 320-320)