Alberta oil sands producers are taking a hard look at CANDU nuclear power plants.
Alberta Canada is one of the few areas in the world where oil production has increased rather dramatically during the past 5 years. The area has a vast resource of unconventional oil in the form of oil sands, where the concentration of oil in the sand to a significant depth is in excess of 10%. However, the oil tightly adheres to the sand and will not flow with normal drilling techniques. There are several ways to gather the oil in this region, but the one with the most potential requires the use of large quantities of steam in order to cause the oil to flow so that it can be pumped.
Even after the oil is gathered, it needs additional processing and upgrading steps, which also adds to the amount of energy investment needed to produce this oil. The current source of the energy is natural gas, but the supply growth is limited and the cost is increasing with the market price of natural gas.
The solution that appears ever more likely is to build some CANDU (Canadian Deuterium) nuclear reactors in the oil producing region to provide vast quantities of steam and electricity. See, for example: Oilsands tax incentives questioned.
Shane and I like the idea and provide some comments about why it might be good to pursue the possibilities.
Here are some links that might be useful if you want to do some additional research.
Argonne has a good introductory page with pictures of processes;
also good facts that are backed up by Wikipedia references:
This is the original paper that Shane found a few years ago concerning
the natural synergy between nuclear energy and oil sand extraction;
He especially likes the fact that the oil sand resources, after they are
cleaned of their bitumen, are often good zirconium ores: