How Far We Will Go To Keep Driving: Nuclear Powered Gas

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They keep saying that "there is more oil in the Alberta oil sands than in Saudi Arabia," but it requires huge amounts of natural gas to create steam to coax it out, and to make hydrogen required to turn it into synthetic crude. It presently takes the gas equivalent of a barrel of oil (and two tons of mined sand) to make three barrels of oil. Steven Hazell of the Sierra Club of Canada says "The tar sands are clearly the worst type of oil for the atmosphere." (Clearly he had not yet heard of coal-to-oil). Now serious people are contemplating building a 2 CANDU nuclear reactors in the middle of oilsands country to create 1400 megawatts that would be used to create steam and hydrogen needed to make fuel out of the tarsands. This could save a quarter of a billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and create 150,000 barrels a day of fuel. Given that this is in Alberta, which never saw a megaproject that it didn't love, and the desperation in the Canadian nuclear industry to build more CANDU's, it may well happen. As Stephane Dion said two years ago: ''There is no environmental minister on earth who can stop the oil from coming out of the sand, because the money is too big.'' ::CBC

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