Canada to observe nukes-for-peace talks

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OTTAWA, Sep 14 (Reuters) Canada has decided to send an observer to ministerial talks on a US-led initiative to provide nuclear fuel to other countries in a way designed to limit proliferation, a Canadian official said today.

Canada is the world's largest producer of uranium, and its Conservative government has been saying it will decide soon whether to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, advanced by the Bush administration.

A Canadian official will observe the talks in Vienna on Sunday. The United States, China, France, Japan and Russia were set to participate.

''This will permit us to monitor the developments of the GNEP, and Canada will make a decision about joining the partnership at a later date,'' said Eugenie Cormier-Lassonde, a spokeswoman at the foreign affairs department.

The idea of the partnership is to support nuclear technology, which does not emit greenhouse gases, but to do it in a way that will not lead to more nuclear bombs.

Initial ideas provided for advanced suppliers of nuclear fuel to take back other countries' spent fuel, but Cormier-Lassonde was unable to answer if Canada was considering doing that.

Reuters SZ VP0210

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