Here's a solution. Alberta tar sands is in a bind. The near surface stuff is getting less. The deeper tar sands is being extracted using in situ steam. There's other fancy words to describe the process. I'll let little Willem step in to clarify if necessary. An alternative to steam injection is called in situ electric resistance heating or ERH. ET Energy, parlayed the idea from Pacific Northwest Laboratories (Battelle) at Hanford, has commericial rights.
ERH requires a lot of electricity. It's been used with success as a soil and groundwater remediation technology for about 20 years. ET has successfully piloted the technology in one of the areas. I think Suncor is the owner. Maybe not. If there's a cheap, continuous, and clean (low CO2) electricity source, this technology would blow in situ steam out of the proverbial water. In situ steam has an environmental problem. It tends to send liquids and gas from the tar all over the place. ERH doesn't becuase steam is generated underground rather than being injected.
A fancy mini nuke plant could be a good thing. Oil and gas needs a reliable, clean and more productive in situ extraction. Canada needs better PR. US nuke guys need to commercialize these fancy pants new reactors. Oil and gas has lots of money, a bad PR problem and a need. Who knows maybe Koch and Exxon could become the biggest booster of little nukes.
Since tar sands or oil sands or whatever is flowing like crazy, you might as well make it greener.
You're welcome and good luck.
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