Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Shell likely player in Peace River Nuke Plans (UK Press)

As always, when a corporation (with their pliant media friends) wants to get away with something completely unattractive-- such as using disgusting power forms to get disgusting power forms of energy--- turning nukes into tar! They will not likely speak clearly about what they are doing to the local population, lest that engender resistance. So, why not look at the international media (in this case, the conservative UK daily "Independent"), who will definitely talk about something so big, important and likely to help set international trends.

Let's be clear: there is next-to *no chance at all* that the nuke plant being proposed near Peace River will have any major customer other than Shell; today the In Situ plant near PR is small, producing only five figures in terms of barrels of oil a day-- and they have announced that they intend to go up 8-10 times in production. Stop Shell, stop nuclear-- it's the same thing.


Shell could take nuclear option to mine oil from Canadian tar sands
By Tim Webb
Published: 09 September 2007

Shell is considering using nuclear power to operate its controversial tar sands programme in Canada.

Tar sands extraction – mining oil from a mixture of sand or clay, water and very heavy crude oil – uses a huge amount of energy and water. Environmentalists say it results in more than three times as many emissions of carbon dioxide compared to conventional oil production.

Now Canadian firms AECL and Energy Alberta have proposed building a nuclear reactor near the site of Shell's vast Athabasca tar sands development. The boss of Energy Alberta has said the C$6bn (£2.8bn) reactor has the backing of a large unnamed copany that would take 70 per cent of the reactor's energy.

A spokeswoman for Shell Canada refused to confirm that the company would take electricity from the reactor but said: "We have had a number of power options presented to us. Yes, it includes nuclear.

"If a nuclear facility proceeds, we would look at it based on a wide range of factors such as economics, sustainability and the energy [required]."

She added that the company was also looking at building biomass, renewable or co-generation plants.

Analysts estimate that Canada's huge tar sands give it the world's second-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

However, Walt Patterson, associate fellow at think-tank Chatham House, said: "Extracting oil from tar scares the pants off me. The whole idea is fundamentally perverse in the context of our present environmental situation. To then power it with nuclear, it seems to be the worst of all worlds."

The Independent on Sunday has also been told that, earlier this year, Shell Canada contacted French nuclear firm Areva to find out how much it would cost to build a reactor for the oil sands project, but did not pursue this option because of the cost. The Shell Canada spokeswoman could not confirm this discussion took place.

Shell and its Athabasca partners currently pump over 155,000 barrels of oil per day from the tar sands but want to increase this by five times over the next 20 years. This would need more than an extra 1,000MW of generating capacity. Most of the project's existing power comes from a gas-fired plant, but gas production in North America is declining.

Nukes and Shell

Just read your interpretation about the nukes and Shell.

In my opinion, the electricity will not go to Shell's projects around Cadotte Lake, east of Peace River. It will go northwestwards to a subsidiary of Shell called "Sure Northern Energy" who is exploring the limestone hosted bitumen to the west of Fort Muck. Sure intends to extract the bitumen by drilling electric heaters into the ground.


That's why Whitecourt was the original preferred site, before the local opposition started, as they would have run a line straight north from there to the limestone area. Still need to do more research on this, but that's the way I figure it for now.

I have some detailed geology reports on the limestone, but haven't had a chance to look at them yet.

Cheers, Petr

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