Back in 2005 TreeHugger Meg described Toshiba's 4S nuclear reactor ("Super-Safe, Small, and Simple"--Wow! Genius marketing, right?!) which is a solution looking for a problem ever since. Now another idea that has been around for a while has popped its head up again- building a reactor in the middle of the Alberta Tar Sands to boil out the oil.Daily Yomiuri describes how it will work:
Toshiba Corp. has been developing a small nuclear reactor for mining oil sands at the request of a firm engaged in such mining projects in Alberta Province, Canada, and aims to begin operating the reactor by 2020, it has been learned.....The output of Toshiba's new small reactor will be 10,000 kilowatts to 50,000 kilowatts, about 1 percent-5 percent that of a regular nuclear reactor, according to the sources. Steam generated in the reactor will be sent to strata located at a depth of about 300 meters, where oil sands are found, to turn the sand into slurry. The slurry will then be extracted from the strata using a separate pipe.
This is currently done with natural gas, which helps give tar sands oil such a high carbon footprint. But nukes will make it all happy and green. After all, who can forget Mat's rallying cry, It's Time to Nuke the Tar Sands!