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(Slashdot)   Congress reaches agreement ... ᴼᴺ ᴴᴱᴸᴵᵁᴹ   ( divider line
    More: Spiffy, congresses  
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5560 clicks; posted to Geek » on 01 Oct 2013 at 3:05 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-10-01 07:01:47 PM  
1 vote:
Right, because the smartest thing to do for a country with a huge trade deficit is to piss away the one valuable natural resource it has a virtual monopoly on so we can be forced to import more.

We don't have a "virtual monopoly" on helium. We never really did. We're not going to have to import any, either, unless someone does something really bizarre, like shut down all natural gas production.

What we DID have was a massive Federal subsidy on helium production and storage, which kept the price artificially low for decades, and which didn't really accomplish anything except keep the price low enough to throw away in balloons. Production cost for helium was comically low - it was transportation and storage that were the real issues.

Other countries started ramping up production years ago, when they noticed that the US was going to have to cut back. Even in the US, various natural gas producers started installing helium refineries a decade or so ago, because they could see where things are going. It's not hard to make - literally 1920s technology.
2013-10-01 04:32:17 PM  
1 vote:
Great, the one thing they agree on, and it's wasting a limited resource.

...if by "limited resource," you mean "thousands of years worth." Literally.

When people say we're running out of the stuff, they're only talking about the very limited reserve found in a few natural gas fields in the Southwest. The only reason it was so centralized in that one area is that some fields have a very high - as much as seven percent - content of the gas.

There are many more fields around the world with high enough concentrations of helium to allow cheap extraction from natural gas flows. New cryogenic equipment is coming on line in several places (Qatar, Algeria, Russia, India, and others) to make up for the reduction in US production. There are also several new US commercial plants that are being added to known natural gas fields with higher helium concentrations.
2013-10-01 04:15:38 PM  
1 vote:

i1.ytimg.comView Full Size
2013-10-01 03:32:22 PM  
1 vote:
How noble of them.
2013-10-01 03:11:05 PM  
1 vote:
sci-ence.orgView Full Size
2013-10-01 03:10:04 PM  
1 vote:
Holy nuts, remember Strinberg and Helium?  I just had a flashback and had to look it up.  Found it:


/good times.
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