Oil and gas company Shell may use nuclear power to mine oil in its Canadian tar sands, The New Zealand Herald has reported, quoting The Independent on Sunday as its source.

According to the report, Canadian firms AECL and Energy Alberta are planning to build a nuclear reactor near Shell’s Athabasca tar sands development site.

Though a spokeswoman from Shell Canada refused to confirm that the company would take electricity from the reactor, she has reportedly said: We have had a number of power options presented to us. Yes, it includes nuclear.

If it proceeds, we would look at it based on a wide range of factors such as economics, sustainability and the energy [required], she added.

The report also added that Shell Canada had earlier contacted French nuclear firm Areva regarding the building of a reactor, but did not go ahead due to cost reasons.