As world leaders discuss the possibility of a major expansion in nuclear power, at least one expert suggests Canada’s rich uranium reserves could make the country a world leader in the space.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP28, includes discussions surrounding nuclear power for the first time, and world leaders are expected to reach an agreement on future expansion of the power source, according to The Associated Press.

Heather Exner-Pirot, special advisor of economic transition at the Business Council of Canada, said Canada should be excited about the prospects of such a deal, even if the country isn’t among the nations expected to be involved.

“So far there’s no indication that Canada is going to sign on to this declaration to want to triple nuclear energy, so for the nuclear sector that’s certainly a concern,” she told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview on Thursday.

Canada is the second largest producer of uranium in the world behind Kazakhstan, according to Natural Resources Canada, while Canada produces six per cent of the world’s nuclear power. 

“We have a lot of competitive advantages that people might not think,” Exner-Pirot said.

“Now is the time to capitalize and we’re seeing this emerging nuclear renaissance.”

For Exner-Pirot, Canada’s large uranium reserves offer another advantage in the energy transition: no need to rely on other nations.

“(Canada’s) not dependent on China for the critical minerals or the components, in fact the nuclear supply chain in Canada is over 90 per cent domestic and just about 100 per cent North American,” she said.

With files from The Associated Press