Helio: Should it be preserved? – Science News, April 17, 1971
To avoid some of the loss and provide a reserve for future needs, the U.S. government in the late 1950s established a helium conservation program … Under the program, the Bureau of Mines contracts with certain gas producers natural to extract helium and store it. in underground chambers. Now users and helium extractors are fighting the decision to end that program.
To the relief of balloons everywhere, the Helio Federal Reserve survived. Arguments to block the facility, located in Texas, focused on declining use. But the element is often used in scientific research and is now crucial for the manufacture of smartphones and MRI machines. Global demand is high and users have faced numerous shortcomings. In 2016, the discovery of a helium gas deposit under Tanzania temporarily alleviated concerns about the world’s dry supply (SN: 23/07/16, p. 14). Still, the U.S. government has long wanted to move away from the helium game and plans to close the reserve later this year.