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As a company, we use 5.5 million liters of helium a year at our South Carolina production facility and dedicate another 6 million liters per year servicing MRI systems at hospitals across the U.S. We are investing more than $18 million this year alone in a new helium recycling facility and other efficiency measures — including proprietary conservation technologies and helium reuse methods. And our researchers at GE’s Global Research Centers are exploring new magnet designs and innovative cooling techniques, all in preparation for a near future where helium demand outpaces supply.
The costs of inaction or delay by Congress would be damaging to our nation’s manufacturing and high-tech economy. Yet with prompt action on this key legislation, we can avert the helium cliff, empower physicians to best diagnose and treat patients using MRI and help keep the U.S. economy strong.
Richard Hausmann, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Magnetic Resonance for GE Healthcare.