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Helium Shortage Looms Large for Semiconductor Industry

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Polyspace
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Re: Helium
Polyspace   8/16/2013 4:57:47 PM
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@ David "Seriously though, where does the Helium come from?"


Helium is a byproduct of the gas/oil industry. Radioactive decay of certain isotopes in the crust produce Alpha particles which bounce around a bit until they slow down and grab a couple electrons, thus becoming Helium atoms. They tend to rise up and are trapped in pockets of natural gas.

As a child I wondered for years about 'secret fusion reactors' since we're all told that helium comes from fusing hydrogen, but no one ever knew where Earth's helium supply came from.

David Ashton
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Re: Helium
David Ashton   8/16/2013 8:25:29 PM
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@ Polyspace...many thanks for that.  There's a big uproar here in Australia at the moment as Coal-Seam Gas (CSG) miners are running rampant all over our best farming land.  However I have never heard of them extracting helium from it.  Maybe because, as other posters have said, the price is artificially low.  If someone as big (and supposedly savvy) as the US government can't sort this out, what hope is there?

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