Today’s terrible idea – nuke the tar sands

The protests in the US around the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline have actually slowed construction of this controversial pipeline.  But at the source of these tar sands, Japan has a novel new proposal: let’s put small nuclear power plants to help provide energy for the development of these tar sands pits or wells.

Keystone protesters in Oklahoma

Keystone protesters in Oklahoma

The first reason this is a terrible idea is that both tar sands and reactors need lots of water to operate.  Early studies showed that water shortages would be the limiting factor on tar sands production.  Adding reactors to this parched environment is like throwing gasoline on a fire.

The difference is tar sands require more water

The difference is tar sands require more water

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

3 responses to “Today’s terrible idea – nuke the tar sands”

  1. richard w. lisko says :

    Japan strikes back!

  2. Loran says :

    Protesters slowed down the pipeline construction? You’re kidding, right? They got their asses thrown in jail and the construction workers resumed their work after having a few laughs. Folks in Oklahoma don’t stand for that kind of crap. Indeed, they’ve been fracking down there since 1948.

    The mini-nukes are not news; they’ve been in development for a long while.

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Loran:

      It is often the case that direct actions against construction sites result in no significant delays. And direct actions are often a part of successful campaigns against ugly and controversial projects like Keystone XL. While it is true that they have been fracking since 1948 in OK, what is not true is the current form of high volume fracking has only existed for the last 7 or 8 years and is a completely different ball game than the previous generation of fracking (by orders of magnitude of materials pumped into the ground). So i see you are quoting classic industry lines, which makes me think you are either on the payroll or trolling around.

      Similarly, there has been billions wasted on trying to commercialize small reactors. Nothing from the nuclear navy is at all useful because we would get cheaper energy paying people to ride stationary bicycles. But SMR are in fact news. They are a bad idea technology which is looking for a justification for its existence. Please see for many of the reasons that small reactors suck.

      Keystone is a mistake, Obama should block it, sadly i am better he will not.

      Paxus at Twin Oaks
      6 Early Spring 2013

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