What does this helium shortage mean? Can we make more? Isn’t it important?

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What does this helium shortage mean? Can we make more? Isn’t it important?

In: Chemistry

In order:

It will mean that we can’t run things like the LHC, MRIs, and other machines that needs to be super-cold or have extremely strong magnets. We also can’t do certain sorts of studies on physics.

We can’t make it, because it only comes from nuclear decay. We happen to get it when we harvest natural gas, but much of it is lost to space in that process.

It’s very important, but also very hard to store. There’s only one storage facility in the US that stores it with no loss to space. The only way we could start making it is though fusion, which is a long way off and would probably involve those super-strong magnets again.

So right now, the best thing to do would be to lobby the government to stop wasting our strategic supply on stuff. Also, no more Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade and party balloons (though there is a mildly insane plan to fill them with hydrogen). But we really need to government’s help to store it, because they control a majority of the supply.