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TitleA role for nuclear energy in the recovery of oil from the tar sands of Alberta
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1977
AuthorsPuttagunta, V. R., Sochaski R. O., & Robertson R. F. S.
Pagination21 pages
Date Published07/1977
PublisherThe Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Publication Languageeng
Keywordseconomics, federal government, planning

This report briefly describes techniques of oil recovery from the tar sands and the energy requirements of this operation. Fossil fuel, such as coal, and CANDU* nuclear reactors are examined as competitive sources of energy for the tar sands plants. This study indicates the feasibility of both sources. Among the nuclear reactors, the organic-cooled version of the CANDU reactor appears to have the necessary flexibility to fit into many of the possible methods of recovering oil from the tar sands.

Cost comparisons of fossil and nuclear sources show that, for the supply of process steam, the nuclear source is competitive under the criteria of debt financing or low discount rates on capital, continued escalation, and long plant capital write-off period.

A strategy is discussed for the recovery of oil from the tar sands with a view to optimizing the costs and, in tile long run, to conserving the fossil fuels at the expense of nuclear fuels. This scheme involves supplying process heat and electricity from organic-cooled CANDU reactors (CANDU-OCR) built at the tar sands site, making hydrogen from coal at the coal fields and piping it to the bitumen upgrading plants. This strategy would require further development of the CANDU-OCR.


IN: The Oil Sands of Canada-Venezuela 1977. Redford D.A. and A.G. Winestock (Eds.). The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. CIM Special Volume 17. pp. 498-519.

Locational Keywords

Alberta oil sands



Citation Key51317

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