Legislation aims to delay closing of helium reserve

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance praised legislation calling for the delay of the mandatory closing of the Federal Helium Reserve this year. The legislation was introduced Tuesday by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

The 1996 Helium Privatization Act mandates the reserve must be closed and the supply sold off to reimburse the government for setting up the reserve. But there is a question about whether private helium suppliers are ready to fill the gap left by the helium reserve, so prices and supply of helium have been unstable in anticipation of closing the reserve. That has hurt industries that rely on helium, such as MRI manufacturers, as MR machines need helium to cool their magnets.

"MITA applauds Senators Wyden and Murkowski for their leadership in introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at safeguarding access to the Federal Helium Reserve," Executive Director Gail Rodriguez said in a statement. "With legislation now advancing in both the House and Senate, Congress is taking the right steps to preserve reliable access to helium, which is essential to the manufacturing and operation of life-saving medical imaging technologies that help thousands of American patients every day." Announcement

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