The Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan could be vulnerable to a shortage of helium.

The CLS relies on helium cooled to - 269 C to spin electrons.

Scientist Mark Boland said they’ve been watching the supply dwindle for a while.

“So you’re at the whim of the market and we certainly don't get double the funding to run our lab. National labs in smaller countries like ours become particularly vulnerable to the ebb and flow of supply.”

The allocation of helium is prioritized with medical needs coming first for the operation of MRI machines, he said.