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"Peak Helium" in the Mainstream Media

May 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

In the past, I've posted (here, here, here, and here) about the problem of dwindling helium supplies. 

This article in yesterday's New York Times provides a brief update on the He-3 situation from a legislative point of view, although there aren't any surprises here.

The opening paragraph pretty much says it all, by succinctly summarizing what many others have been saying for quite a while:

The United States is running out of a rare gas…because one arm of the Energy Department was selling the gas six times as fast as another arm could accumulate it, and the two sides failed to communicate for years, according to a new Congressional audit.

It's the new audit that interests me.  Apparently the Government Accountability Office plans to release a report on the management of the U.S. He-3 stockpile this week. I'm curious about that.

Here's another highlight, consistent with what other sources, including Physics Today, have indicated:

From 2003 to 2009, the Isotope Program was selling the gas at a rate of about 30,000 liters a year, while the weapons program was producing only 8,000 to 10,000 liters, the accountability office found.




Steve Halter May 30, 2011 at 10:51 am
Cool, they've figured out a basic math mistake. Maybe they'll do something about it--eventually.
Ian May 30, 2011 at 11:07 am
You know, when I was a kid I never understood why they spent so much time in elementary school harping on "less than" and "greater than". Little did I know that matters of national security would hinge on this extremely difficult and complex concept...
Shane June 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm
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