The Nonproliferation Review
April 1, 1998
Duane Bratt is a lecturer in the Department of Economics and Political Science at Mount RoyalCollege(Calgary, Alberta, Canada). He has written several articles and newspaper editorials on Canada’s nuclear policy, including “Is Business Booming? Canada’s Nuclear Reactor Export Policy,” International Journal (Summer 1996) and “The Future of CANDU Exports,” Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies’ Strategic Datalink (October 1997).
an international treaty (the Ottawa Treaty) banning anti-personnel land mines in the fall of 1997. Despite these significant contributions to international security and nonprolif-eration efforts, however, Canada has also pursued narrower, self-interested policies in its export of proliferation-risky Canadian Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors. It has also frequently stretched its own environmental laws to the limit in waiving restrictions on these exports to countries with questionable environmental safety records and capabilities.
This article examines the history of Canada’s CANDU reactor sales (see Figure 1) and the clash between Canada’s “internationalist” principles and its narrower domestic priorities. In doing so, the study makes the argument that the latter set of
domestic concerns has tended to dominate Canadian decisionmaking in sales of CANDU reactors, despite Canada’s reputation as a champion of “internationalist” values. Consistent with this argument, the article also presents new evidence that Canadian policy may now be chang-ing—to one less favorable to CANDU exports—but precisely for domestic reasons. That is, recent public revelations about hidden costs behind CANDU exports have made justifying reactor sales more and more difficult at home. At the same time, recent evidence of environmental problems and lowered economic efficiency in the operation of CANDU reactors in Canada have thrown the alleged benefits of CANDUs (compared to other reactors) into question in the eyes of foreign purchasers. Such concerns and
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