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How is HeliumproducedProduction Although Helium is one of the most common elements in theuniverse it is a rare gas on earth It exists in the atmosphere in suchsmall quantities less than five parts per million that recovering itfrom the air is uneconomical Helium is produced as a by-product of therefining of natural gas which is carried out on a commercial scale in theUSA and Poland In these areas natural gas contains a relatively highconcentration of Helium which has accumulated as a result of radioactivedecay of heavy elements within the earths crust Helium is supplied todistribution centres throughout the world in liquid form in large cryogeniccontainers The Helium is filled into liquid containers gas cylinders andcylinder packs as necessaryHistory of Helium Production Government involvement in helium conservationdates to the Helium Act of 1925 which authorized the Bureau of Mines to buildand operate a large-scale helium extraction and purification plant From 1929until 1960 the federal government was the only domestic helium producer In1960 Congress amended the Helium Act to provide incentives to natural gasproducers for stripping natural gas of its helium for purchase of theseparated helium by the government and for its long-term storage Withover 960 million cubic meters 346 billion cubic feet of helium ingovernment storage and a large private helium recovery industry questionsarise as to the need for either the federal helium extraction program or thefederally maintained helium stockpileIn a move which would take the federal government out of the helium businessCongress passed the Helium Privatization Act HR 873 as part of theSeven-Year Balanced Budget Reconciliation Act of 1995 HR 2491 Althoughthe measure died when the President vetoed the Budget Act on December 6 1995the Administration has made a goal the privatization of the federal heliumprogram On April 30 1996 the House suspended the rules and passed HR3008 the Helium Privatization Act as agreed to in the House-Senate conferenceon the Budget Act Subsequently the Senate Energy and Natural ResourcesCommittee amended the bill to provide
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