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Global helium crisis deflates after discovery of African reserve

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3658 (Published 30 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3658
  1. Owen Dyer

A growing shortage of the element helium, needed for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), has been solved almost overnight by the discovery of a vast gas field in Tanzania.

The find, of roughly 1.53 billion cubic metres (54 billion cubic feet), is nearly three times the quantity now held in the US National Helium Reserve, a giant underground tank in Texas which holds most of the world’s current stocks.

On its own, the new find is enough to sustain current use levels for nearly a decade, or to fill 1.2 million …

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