[Right_to_die] Helium gas will run out in 25 years, study says
World right-to-die news list (nonprofit)
right-to-die at lists.opn.org
Mon Aug 23 17:17:59 PDT 2010
The Daily Telegraph in London reported 23 August 10"
World helium reserves are running out, Nobel laureate claims
By Laura Roberts
Experts have warned that the inert gas is being sold off far too cheaply
and that resources could run out within 25 to 30 years.
Prof Richardson has called for America to reconsider its policy to sell
off its helium reserves by 2015 as a result.
A US law, passed in 1996, has ruled that the US National Helium Reserve,
located in Amarillo, Texas, should be sold off within 20 years.
Helium, a non-renewable resource, is used in MRI scanners (which are
cooled by the gas), airships and also by anti-terrorist authorities who
used it for their radiation monitors.
It is created by the radioactive decay of terrestrial rock and most of
the world's reserves have been derived as a by-product from the
extraction of natural gas.
Around 80 per cent of the world's reserves are in the American South-west.
However, because the gas is sold so cheaply there is no incentive to
recycle it. Nasa uses enormous quantities to clean its rockets to get
rid of explosive fuel but none of the gas is reused.
Prof Richardson, professor of Physics at Cornell University in Ithaca,
New York, co-chaired an inquiry into the impending shortage convened by
the US National Research Council, an arm of the US National Academy of
He claims that helium should rise by between 20- and 50-fold to make
recycling more worthwhile.
Professor Richardson also believes that party balloons filled with
helium are too cheap, and they should really cost about £64 to reflect
the precious nature of the gas they contain.
He told The Independent: "Once helium is released into the atmosphere in
the form of party balloons or boiling helium, it is lost to the Earth
for ever, lost to the Earth for ever."
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