NewEnergyNews: NUCLEAR TO DIG SANDS?

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    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    NUCLEAR TO DIG SANDS?

    This bizarre idea of using nuclear energy to get oil out of the Canadian tar sands surfaces again. Or is this just a way for Alberta to get its own nuclear industry subsidized by the oil industry?

    Shell possible customer for atomic energy
    Renato Gandia, May 22, 2007 (Fort McMurray Today)

    WHO
    Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary Sure Northern Energy Ltd.; Energy Alberta Corp., Wayne Henuset, president; Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.; Regional Issues Working Group, Jacob Irving, executive director.
    Alberta oil: Not exactly a well (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    Sure North, holder of the most expensive oil sands lease ever, is reportedly considering using nuclear energy to generate the electricity necessary to develop oil out of the bitumen deposits.

    WHEN
    - Sure North took the lease last year.
    - Rumors about the use of nuclear energy electricity for oil development were unconfirmed on May 22.
    - Last week, an Energy Alberta open house won acceptance for the nuclear plan from all but 3 of 300 attendees.
    - Development of the Sure North lease is not expected until after 2010.

    WHERE
    - The leasehold is 100 kilometers northwest of Fort McMurray in Alberta.
    - The highly approving open house was in Whitecourt in central Alberta, where the nuclear reactor may be located. It may also be located in Peace River, an Alberta town closer to the oil fields.

    WHY
    - Rumors about the use of nuclear energy electricity came out of talks confirmed by Energy Alberta with the other companies.
    - Husky Energy confirms interest in partnering with Royal Dutch on the development of nuclear energy electricity to work the tar sands oil.
    - Natural gas is the primary energy used in working the hard to get oil out of the tar sands. Steam and electricity from natural gas plants drive the process at Syncrude Canada and Suncor Energy. But natural gas supplies may be dwindling.
    - Energy Alberta claims nuclear would be cheaper and would cut back greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
    - Development of the tar sands will require a lot of electricity.
    where oil sands are, where nuclear will be (click to enlarge)
    QUOTES
    - Henuset: “But we don’t have any contract with any oilsands company…We’re proposing to bring Candu Canadian technology, to become the lowest cost provider of energy for the oilsands producers in the region…”
    - Irving: “It’s not in the Regional Issues Working Group’s position to allow or disallow the use of specific energy source…Supply of natural gas is always an issue and individual companies look at their own ways of fixing the problem…”

    1 Comments:

    At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    1) This $6.2 billion dollar estimate being tossed around... what cost estimate level is this? Have Alberta specific and location specific factors been taken into account? Since this number has been floated for months now - before a location was "picked"- I would suggest this number is subject to substantial upward revisions.

    2) What capacity (output) must be contracted for this facility to be eligable for financing? Perhaps over 90%? I'm sure someone in the Corporate Finance world would have a better understand than I about this. Last time I checked (which I haven't) Energy Alberta has no assets, and Hank Swartout doesn't have 1 billion to finance this, let alone 6.2 billion *cough*

    3) Why did members in Peace river support this project? Were there any "advanced" "meetings" with Energy Alberta?

    4) What is the safety record of the owners of Energy Alberta in their other businesses?

    5) Who will pay for any cost overruns? Since Energy Alberta has also claimed that tax payers will not pay for any of this.

    6) How much money has AECL already spent subsiding this company?

     

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