* Pact allows more Canadian uranium into China
* China fastest growing nuclear market in world
* Uranium to be used for civilian nuclear program
BEIJING, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Canada has reached a deal with China that will make it easier for Cameco Corp and other Canadian uranium producers to sell nuclear fuel into the fastest-growing market for atomic power.
The trade deal, announced on Thursday during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to China, allows Cameco - the largest publicly listed producer - to sell uranium from its Canadian projects into China. Details of the agreement were not provided.
“This agreement will help Canadian uranium companies to substantially increase exports to China, the world’s fastest growing market for these products,” Harper’s office said in a statement.
China currently operates some 13 nuclear reactors, with a total nuclear power output of about 11 gigawatts. The Asian country, which has 27 reactors under construction, plans to boost output to 80 gigawatts by 2020.
By contrast, the United States has 104 nuclear reactors.
Construction of reactors in China is expected to outweigh the decommissioning of plants in Japan, where reactors were taken offline in the wake of the Fukushima disaster last March, and in Germany, where the Japanese disaster led to a policy shift away from nuclear power.
In 2010, Cameco signed two deals with China to provide the country more than 50 million pounds of uranium over 15 years. Cameco has major uranium projects in Canada, the United States, Kazakhstan and Australia.
“We couldn’t deliver Canadian uranium here until this agreement was signed so it opened the door for us to do that,” said Chief Executive Tim Gitzel, who is part of a trade delegation visiting China this week with the Canadian prime minister.
Canada and China are working to finalize the text of the agreement and expect it to be completed within the next few months, according to the release.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco, which will report its fourth-quarter earnings after market close on Thursday, plans to boost its uranium production to 40 million pounds a year by 2018.