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Opinion
Izabella Kaminska

Noble Gases Are Suffering From Putin’s War in Ukraine

Gases including neon and helium are critical for semiconductor manufacturing and other essential industries. Yet the market remains worryingly opaque.

The Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol.

The Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol.

Source: AFP

Now that Ukraine has evacuated its fighters from Mariupol, ceding control of the city to Russian forces, we can begin to sort the consequences. One has so far gone largely unexplored — the effect on the production of noble gases. 

Azovstal, the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, is one of only a handful of facilities in the world capable of producing the materials needed to cost-effectively make noble gases such as neon, krypton, xenon and helium, which are critical for global manufacturing. What’s needed now is a better understanding of how supply has been hit so that alternative sources can be quickly developed.