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NRC Urges U.S. to Rethink Sale of Helium Reserve

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Science  29 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5965, pp. 511
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5965.511

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In 1996, the U.S. Congress decided to sell the 1 billion cubic meters of gaseous helium—specifically the heavier isotope, helium-4—that the country had stockpiled. But conditions it imposed on the sales are keeping the price of helium artificially low and encouraging waste of a substance indispensable for numerous scientific and technological applications, says a National Research Council report released last week.