Helium supply could be gone in 30 years
The world is quickly running out of helium. The dwindling supply of the inert gas has been a growing concern for several years. Now a group of scientists have said the world’s supply could be gone completely in less than 30 years, according to The Independent. The problem is twofold: First, helium is a non-renewable resource, mainly collected from the very slow decay of radioactive elements, and we're using it much faster than it's being created. Second, Congress passed a law in 1996 mandating the U.S. helium reserve—by far the largest in the world—be sold off by 2015, irrespective of market price.
The impact goes far beyond not being able to inflate birthday balloons. Liquid helium is used in cooling medical equipment, and the gas has numerous industrial applications. It is used in manufacturing LCD TV screens. Oh, and it helps power space shuttle and other rockets. A far rarer isotope of the gas, Helium-3, plays a pivotal role in the research of nuclear fusion, one of the world’s clean energy hopes.