The Round-Up: November 9th 2006

Dinning favours nuclear power for oilsands

Jim Dinning suddenly became the nuclear candidate Tuesday, promising the crowd at a Vermilion candidates' forum he would look at allowing a reactor plant to meet the oilsands' ballooning energy needs.

The perceived front-runner became the first Conservative leadership contender to publicly flirt with Alberta going nuclear, a controversial idea that retiring Premier Ralph Klein also recently warmed up to.

"We're wasting natural gas, and nuclear power's got to go on the list of energy sources to be considered to support the development of the oilsands," Dinning said, getting cheers from many in at Lakeland College's Vermilion campus theatre.

The oilsands' energy-intensive extraction and processing sucks up massive amounts of natural gas, a need which will grow as more megaprojects join the northern oil rush. While that happens, forecasters predict the Alberta's natural-gas production will peak.

Alberta considers incentives for oil upgrading

The Alberta government may introduce incentives to upgrade raw oil sands output in the province to discourage the product from being shipped to the United States for processing, according to Murray Edwards, vice-chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

"There is the possibility as we move through the next decade, you may see government steps taken to encourage more upgrading to take place in Alberta," Mr. Edwards said at a luncheon during a company presentation to investors. "There may be an economic incentive ... to upgrade that oil in Alberta."....

....The question of upgrading in Alberta is becoming more heated every day. EnCana Corp. last month signed a major deal to export raw bitumen, and Husky Energy Inc. is looking to do the same, possibly with BP PLC as a partner. BP is spending $3-billion (U.S.) at its Chicago refinery to handle much more bitumen and last week said it is also considering overhauls in Washington State and Ohio.

Electricity might not make it off Bruce Power site; Province has to increase transmission capacity to take power it has agreed to buy

Failure to move soon on new transmission capacity from Bruce Power could lock in electricity from a $4.2-billion retrofit at the site, chief executive officer Duncan Hawthorne warned Wednesday.

Terms of a long-term electricity supply contract struck last year between the Ontario Power Authority and Bruce Power may mean the province ends up paying for power that can't be delivered, Hawthorne said. Price guarantees in the deal led to the company renovating and restoring mothballed reactors at the Bruce A generating station....

....Transmission capacity from Bruce has been undersized since the completion of all eight reactors on the site almost 20 years ago. Current reactor refurbishing projects are designed to boost output from 4,700 to 6,200 megawatts....

....Bruce Power's supply contract requires the province to pay for undeliverable power. It's the flip side of built-in penalties for the company if it fails to meet delivery deadlines.

Well it's about time.  Nuclear energy should have been on the table years ago.  Should provide an interesting 'green' play for the Conservatives.
Enbridge Energy proposes to construct two pipelines for transporting Canadian bitumen through Wisconsin to Chicago area refineries. A number of Wisconsin environmental groups have asked for the preparation of a full Environmental Statement. One of them, RENEW Wisconsin, has asked the Dept. of Transportation to examine the need for the pipelines in light of Canda's diminishing supplies of natural gas.

The letter that RENEW sent to US DOT relies heavily on David Hughes' presentations at last month's ASPO-USA conference. Hughes believes the pipelines are a done deal, but I believe it is vulnerable to multiple challenges, in Canada as well as in the USA. You can read RENEW's letter at
Thanks for posting that link.
Stoneleigh - I just read your lead paragraph and thought that should help the U price along.  I've been wondering for a long while about global U resources.  I know the likes of Paladin Energy conducted a global review to guide their asset acquisition strategy.  There is a lot of public domain data - and this is something I could compile - its a pretty big job though.  You don't know of any good compilations that have been done already?

I have this image of pit ponies down Canadian U mines, to get at the energy to produce your tar.


I don't know of any existing compilations I'm afraid. Doing one would indeed be a useful endeavour, and if you're volunteering that would be great.
from google

"""DavidFleming's article (writing in June 2005 Prospect) available at the prospect website and also republished in the Australian Financial Review at:

Unfortunately, Fleming's article is not referenced, but the structure of his argument and his broad, long-term view gives it credibility. He draws on analysis being done by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith, both nuclear scientists. """

again, hard to reference, but should help add some names to your research list


let's see... 2 or 5 or 8 or more years to peak oil, possible global currency meltdown/depression etc, 10 years plus overruns to build one nuclear plant..  Lots and lots of overruns as prices go up during construction.  Billions and billions of dollars spent in the process?  This is nuts.

Also it was my understanding that the natural gas adds hydrocarbons into the bitumen in order to make it into usable oil, something electricity doesn't do on it's own.  Is that correct?  And if so how is this going to work?  Not so much.

How many nuclear powerplants are we talking about?  I've heard anywhere from 5 to 20. (a few billion each) Maybe more?  And what about the waste?  As if Alberta doesn't have enough toxic waste to deal with.  The number of powerplants needed alone and given the time limitations of peak just doesn't add up.

Also nuclear is not carbon neutral as it seems, using much carbon producing materials in it's construction, maintainence and end of life cycle.  

There's also the small fact of peak-uranium and peak-metals and peak-x (insert here).  How do you mine for ore if nobody takes into account all that energy required, all before it can even get used to make tarsands oil?  I'd love to see the negative ERoEI on that one!  haha...  Tarsands has an abismal ERoRI rate to begin with, and that's with natural gas.  It's not going to improve with more resources required before any more oil is made, over a shorter timeframe from other resources.

When peak occurs, the ability to maintain all the pieces together for a nuclear plant will go with it.

call it peak-dreaming

time to stop the dreaming and cut the bull.  Conservation of energy would prove more profitable, more sustainable and cost **less** (not billions and billions) and frankly is more practical.  But we don't care!  

peak-Weirdness ....