all research by David Martin
Nuclear Awareness Project

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by David Martin

  1. Canada suspended nuclear cooperation with India following the explosion of a bomb at the Pokhran site in May 1974. The bomb had used plutonium manufactured in a research reactor known as "CIRUS" given to India by Canada.

    However, it was not until May 1976, after unsuccessful discussions to upgrade proliferation safeguards, that Canada formally ended its nuclear relationship with India.

    After the 1974 Indian nuclear test, discussions on improved safeguards also took place with Pakistan. Again, negotiations were unsuccessful, and nuclear cooperation with Pakistan was terminated in December 1976.

  2. Beginning in 1989, at the urging of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Canada quietly re-started nuclear cooperation with India & Pakistan. This occurred through the CANDU Owners Group (COG), an alliance of AECL and utilities with CANDU reactors around the world.

    The motto of the CANDU Owners Group -- an integral part of their corporate logo -- is "Strength Through Cooperation".


  3. Neither Indian nor Pakistan have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Nor have they signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Neither does Canada have any Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCAs) with India or Pakistan. That should be reason enough to end all nuclear cooperation.

  4. There is no clear separation in either India or Pakistan between the military and civilian nuclear programs. Aid for one is aid for the other.

  5. AECL, COG and the Canadian government are defending nuclear cooperation and information exchange on the grounds that it promotes reactor safety in India and Pakistan.

    In reality however, the issue would not have been unsafe operation. Without Canadian nuclear cooperation India would likely have had to shut down the two RAPS reactors (the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station).

    Similarly Pakistan would almost certainly have had to shut down the KANUPP reactor (the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant). Its pressure tubes used the original CANDU alloy known as "Zircalloy" that was extremely prone to embrittlement.

    In other words, refusal of nuclear cooperation by Canada would have been an extremely effective sanction, since it would have necessitated the shutdown of the RAPS and KANUPP reactors.

  6. Canadian aid has gone far beyond just information exchange. The CANDU Owners Group (COG) orchestrated a major rehabilitation of the KANUPP reactor in Pakistan. This involved extended work from 1990 to the present by AECL and Ontario Hydro and other contractors.

  7. Although the KANUPP and RAPS reactors ARE safeguarded (inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency), the COG Annual Report for 1995-96 confirms that AECL and Ontario Hydro technicians worked on the Narora and Kakrapar nuclear stations in India (NAPS and KAPS). These reactors are NOT safeguarded.

  8. The fact that the KANUPP and RAPS reactors are safeguarded is NOT an acceptable defense for providing aid to them. In the case of India, knowledge gained from work on the RAPS reactors is clearly transferable to the other six operating CANDU "clones" and the four under construction.

  9. The CIRUS "research" reactor, which Canada gave to India in 1956, was used to produce plutonium for India's first bomb exploded in 1974. CIRUS continues to operate, and it is NOT safeguarded. It is quite possible, even likely, that CIRUS provided at least some of the plutonium for the nuclear weapons exploded by India in 1998.

  10. The tritium connection is also a very interesting way in which Canada has likely made a material contribution to the Pakistani and Indian military nuclear programs in recent years.

    Tritium is a key nuclear explosive which is used in both "boosted" fission bombs and in the triggering of most thermonuclear (fusion) bombs.

    The CANDU reactor produces large quantities of tritium, and Ontario Hydro and AECL have notable expertise in tritium handling and production. This information was likely made available to both India and Pakistan, and rationalized on the grounds of worker safety.

  11. Ultimately, it is a matter of principle. How serious is Canada about walking the non- proliferation talk? Should Canada be aiding and abetting rogue nuclear states?

  12. Freedom of information is also an issue. The government claims that the nuclear information provided to India and Pakistan is "public domain". Yet the government has refused a request by Nuclear Awareness Project to provide a list of information provided to India and Pakistan.

    Moreover, if the information is in the public domain, why do India and Pakistan require Canadian cooperation? And why do India and Pakistan pay a fee to be members of the CANDU Owners Group?


  13. The Prime Minister stated that all relations with India and Pakistan have been placed on hold. However, nuclear cooperation is clearly continuing. According to the statement of Lloyd Axworthy on May 28, the only actions taken against both India and Pakistan have included:

    • recall of the Canadian High Commissioners from India and Pakistan (that is the name for Ambassadors in Commonwealth countries);

    • discontinuation of all non-humanitarian aid;

    • support for deferral of international financial institution funding for both countries (eg. World Bank funding);

    • a ban on military exports; and

    • deferral of visits by Indian and Pakistani officials to Canada.


Dave Martin
Nuclear Awareness Project
P.O. Box 104, 34 Church Street
Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada L9P 1M6
tel/fax 905-852-0571

The CANDU Owners Group (COG) was formed in 1984 by the three Canadian utilities operating CANDU nuclear generating stations and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), the corporation having the overall federal mandate for the development and applications of nuclear energy.

Since that date, COG has expanded internationally to include participation by the utilities with operating CANDU stations in Korea, Argentina, India and Pakistan. Management of COG activities is through a tiered committee structure made up of representatives from COG member companies.

The Following are Excerpts from COG Annual Reports

1 9 8 8   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

. . . As COG enters its fifth year of service to the CANDU nuclear community, it does so with a strong confidence in its ability to generate cooperation within the CANDU family.

Two specific initiatives were taken in 1988 to broaden this cooperation -- a policy was approved by the Directing Committee to expand the nuclear research and development program internationally through joint funding with offshore CANDU owners, and discussions were opened with the Canadian government on the possible participation of India and Pakistan in the COG Information Exchange Program. . . . (page 1)

With the addition of the RAPP-1 reactor in India and the KANUPP reactor in Pakistan, the Information Exchange Program will encompass all operating CANDU stations. . . .

The 1988/89 Fuel Channel R&D Program continued to gain understanding of the behaviour of pressure tubes. . . . For the last several years the fuel channel community has attempted to contact Russia regarding the RBMK type reactor and India for the RAPP CANDU reactor. Both contacts were made this year. . . . AECL senior management also visited Russies to discuss future technical meetings. Discussions between COG and the Ministry of External Affairs have opened up the way for information exchanges between Canada and India, and data on their current pressure tube problems have been received. . . .   (page 6)


(by Gordon Edwards)

The Russian RBMK reactor is the same design as the Chernobyl reactor that exploded on April 26, 1986.

It is similar to the CANDU reactor in that both use hundreds of individual "pressure tubes" rather than one large "pressure vessel" as is the practice in most other commercial reactor designs.

If a pressure tube breaks in the core of the reactor, especially during low-power operation, the resulting power surge can cause an enormous energy release possibly resulting in explosions and the violent destruction of the core unless automatic safety systems terminate the chain reaction within seconds.

1 9 8 9   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

[In a chronology of events]

1987: India and Pakistan agreed to participate in the COG Information Exchange Program. . . . (page 6)

. . . In November [1989], COG organized a two-day conference in Alliston, Ontario, for all CANDU station managers including offshore plants in Argentina, South Korea, India and Pakistan, to discuss and share station experiences. In his welcoming address, Mr. R. C. Franklin, President and Chairman of the Board of Ontario Hydro, acknowledged the key role played by station managers in running the day-to-day operation and maintenance of CANDU stations and emphasized the importance of infromatione xchange among CANDU stations worldwide. . . . (page 15)

[Notes, Table on Program Funding]

India and Pakistan joined this program mid-year with funding share pro-rated. [ $ 20,000.00 each ]         (page 18)

1 9 9 0   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

. . . A second major development in 1990 was the initiative taken by COG in providing assistance to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in assessing the state of the KANUPP reactor. The assistance is provided under the auspices of the IAEA Steering Committee and with the approval of the Canadian Government.

This initiative is consistent with the COG mandate of promoting co-operation and mutual assistance in the safe operation of CANDU reactors and is a positive step toward re-establishing technical co-operation with Pakistan. . . . (page 1)

1 9 9 1   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

. . . In May 1991, COG signed an agreement with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission establishing the COG as the agent and manager for Project Safe Operation of KANUPP (SOK). The SOK project is being carried out under the auspices of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Steering Committee with the objective of assessing the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) reactor fitness for continued operation.

SOK's scope consists of a number of physical inspections of the plant, as well as safety analysis of the original design using current techniques and standards. Contracts with New Brunswick Power for a radiological protection audit at KANUPP, and for erosion-corrosion examination of the plant's main steam and feedwater piping were successfully carried out in 1991. Contract negotiations with AECL for fuel channel assessment are nearing completion. . . . (page 25)

. . . In 1991, 1153 reports were distributed in response to requests from COG members, as follows: AECL (235); CNEA (Argentina) (54); Hydro-Québec (20); KEPCO (Korea) (38); New Brunswick Power (140); NPC (India) (20); PAEC (Pakistan) (92); External Organizations (2). . . . (page 27)

[ Caption to a photograph on page 28 ]

IAEA - COG - CNEA (Embalse, Argentina, April 1991)"

Left to right, B. Collingwood, COG; E. Diaz, Embalse NGS;
G. Yaremy, IAEA; H. Chan, COG; T. S. V. Ramanan, MAPS."

[ NOTE: MAPS = Madras Atomic Power Station,

1 9 9 2 / 1 9 9 3   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

. . . The success of the COG Information Exchange Program depends largely on the commitment of each member to the philosophy of "Strength Through Cooperation". The role of a COG contact officer is to act as a "working window" between COG and the contact officer's organization. In 1992, the contact officers assigned by our member organizations to interface with COG, as shown below:

Member OrganizationsCOG Contact Officer
AECL ResearchN. McDonald
Ontario HydroM. Arifullah
Bruce NGS AJ. Reid / F. Gibson
Bruce NGS BP. Conquest / H. Spanier
Pickering NGSL. Carter / J. Romagnino
Darlington NGSJ. Stacey
Gentilly-2J. C. Tremblay
Point LepreauA. Hadfield
EmbalseR. Sainz
WolsongY. K. Kang / H. W. Kim
NPC (India)K. Nanjundeswaran / B. K. S. Nair
KANUPP (Pakistan)J. A. Hashmi
RENEL (Romania)C. Vilt

(page 25)

1 9 9 3 / 1 9 9 4   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

. . . In 1993, the following workshops were organized by the COG Information Exchange Program on specific operating experience topics. A total of 80 participants attended.

October 27, 1993
COG Operating Experience Seminar
(Toronto, 21 Participants)
October 27-28, 1993
CANDU technical Manager Workshop
(Toronto, 19 Participants)
February 26, 1994
COG Operating Experience Seminar
(Bombay, 40 Participants)
                                                                            (page 6)

. . . Under the auspices of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, an exchange visit was arranged by COG between nuclear plant operations staff from Canada and nuclear plant operations staff from India at the request of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.

The first part of the visit took place at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) from February 28 to March 5, 1993. The purpose of the visit was to meet the staff of RAPS and to exchange information about the operation and management of nuclear power plants.

Seven Canadian members were selected for the team and several areas of exchange with RAPS were discussed. . . . (page 7)

1 9 9 4 / 1 9 9 5   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

. . . Another impediment to the flow of information between CANDU stations is the Canadian export policy restrictions currently being placed on two of our members, India (with nine operating CANDU stations) and Pakistan (with one operating station). We will continue to encourage the Canadian Government to review their export policy with the ultimate objective of reducing the current restrictions being imposed on cooperation among CANDU stations. . . .
(page 1)

. . . In 1994 COG arranged 12 technical visits to Ontario Hydro and AECL facilities for representatives from NASA (Embalse), PAEC (KANUPP), and NPC (Bombay). The visits covered topics such as:

  • Pump testing facility
  • Steam quality measurements
  • Feedwater flow problems
  • Generic technical problems
  • Fuel channel and steam generator inspection
  • Safety system reliability
  • Reliability Centred Maintenance
  • Mechanical seal maintenance
  • LSFCR & S/G mock-up
  • Technical cooperation                            (page 8)

1 9 9 5 / 1 9 9 6   A n n u a l   R e p o r t

. . . In 1995 COG arranged 5 technical visits to Ontario Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and AECL facilities for representatives from NASA (Embalse), PAEC (KANUPP), and NPC (Bombay).

COG also arranged 3 visits to NPC (Bombay and RAPS, NAPS, KAPS) for technical experts from Ontario Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and a consultant. The visits covered topics such as:

  • SLAR and SLARETTE operation in the field
  • Maintenance strategy and life management of pressure tubes
  • Outage and maintenance management
  • General CANDU operating experience
  • Full scope training simulation, LOCA simulation        (page 9)

NAPS = Narora Atomic Power StationTHESE ARE
KAPS = Kakrapar Atomic Power Station

from NUCLEONICS WEEK - June 1, 1995


Collaboration of Canadian and Indian nuclear engineers to upgrade India's aging Candu-type reactors at Rajasthan moved a small step closer to fruition this week when the Candu Owners Group (COG) formally asked the Canadian government just how far the cooperation can go.

Canada and the U.S. cut nuclear cooperation with India 20 years ago when they claimed the Indians had used a Canadian-built research reactor to produce fuel for a nuclear explosive device. India's Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has just decided to retube Rajasthan-2, with or without outside help, though the replacement is expected to take at least three years (Nucleonics Week, 25 May, p. 3).

COG Managing Director Bany Collingwood, one of the four-member Canadian team that talked with Nuclear Power Corp. of India (NPCI) officials in Bombay two months ago (Nucleonics Week, 13 April, p. 13) said May 29, "We have had informal discussions with Canadian government people on the results of our meetings in Bombay and we will be following up this week with a request to our government for their views on proposed cooperation between Canadian industry and NPCI with respect to the safe operation and retubing of the RAPP (Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant) reactors."

COG and NPCI have discussed "the general scope of possible cooperation on core assessment, in-service inspection, and safety-related quality assurance associated with retubing," Collingwood said.

"We have reached informal agreement on a broad scope of activities that would involve Canadlan expertise. That scope will be covered in our submission to Canadian authorities this week." he added.

DAE officials have said they would like Canadian collaboration in addressing Rajasthan's pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) but will tackle the aging problems alone "even if it takes longer" should the Canadian government continue to curtail COG activities.

"Canadian nuclear industry is convinced that our expertise with Candu core assessment and retubing would be exremely valuable to the continued safe operation" at Rajasthan, said Collingwood.

Based on thc original Rajasthan Candu reactor, India has built five 220-MW PHWRs and has five more under construction.

Ray Silver, Toronto

[Myth of the Peaceful Atom: India, Pakistan ]

[ Exporting Disaster: India, Pakistan ]


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