Helium is sold so cheaply that it is used to fill balloons for children, when it is actually a precious resource
Earth's helium reserves will end by 2030, a leading expert has claimed. According to Nobel laureate Prof Robert Richardson of Cornell University, the US supplies 80 per cent of the helium used in the world at a very cheap rate and these provisions will run out in 25 to 30 years' time.
And, once the helium reserves are gone, there will be no means to replace it, the Professor of physics said.
A US law states that the major store of helium in the world -- in a disused airfield in Texas -- must be sold off by 2015 and is being sold at far too cheap a price. This means that the Earth's resources of helium are being exhausted at an amazing rate because it is too cheap to recycle.
Helium is formed on Earth as rocks gradually decay and nearly all of our reserves have been formed as a by-product of the removal of natural gas. The only way to gain it will be to capture it from the decay of tritium -- a radioactive hydrogen isotope, which the US stopped making in 1988.
"So US should get out of the business and let the free market prevail. The effect will be a rise in prices. Party balloons will be US dollars 100 each but we'll have to live with that. We will have to live with those prices ultimately anyway," he said.