Lucas123 writes: U.S. federal reserves of helium gas are at an all-time low after a 15-year wholesale sell off, which could effect WD's plans to begin manufacturing hard drives filled with the second lightest element. The U.S. reserves, created after WWI, are stored in natural underground rock formations in the Texas Panhandle. Those reserves feed the majority of the world's annual demand of 6.2 billion cubic feet. As supply dwindled, the government had hoped private industry would explore and bring its own sources of helium on line, but that has yet to happen. As a result, the price of helium, which is used in manufacturing semiconductors and cooling super magnets in MRIs and even CERN's Large Hadron Collider, has doubled in the past 10 years.