Helium Shortage on the Rise - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Helium Shortage on the Rise

Chip Lindsey, Don Harrington Discovery Center Chip Lindsey, Don Harrington Discovery Center

Elise Preston
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TX - We could be running out of one of the world's most precious elements, helium.

Helium is one of the most abundant elements in the universe. It's also one of the most rare here on earth.

The natural gas helps run MRI scanners, space rockets and terrorism detection devices. However,  these helium uses could soon stand still.

The federal government is selling off all the helium located in the National Helium Reserve in Amarillo. It has to be done by 2015.

There has been legislation enacting the sale since 1996, when the helium reserve was privatized and no longer under a federal umbrella.

But now scientists are speaking out, hoping the world will pay close attention to the depleting natural gas.

"We are probably using helium ill advisedly, unwisely. It is a fossil reserve of gas, once it is gone, its gone forever.  Although the earth generates helium each day, it is a slow process. It would take millions of years for us to get to what we have now." Chip Lindsey with the Don Harrington Discovery Center tells NewsChannel 10.

Lindsey, like many scientists, is asking people to write lawmakers, hoping to sway the government to keep helium preserves a federal issue.

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