Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress: Congressional Research Service, April 25, 2012

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9781477573013: Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress: Congressional Research Service, April 25, 2012
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This report discusses rare earth elements used in Department of Defense (DOD) weapon systems, current problematic oversight issues, and options for Congress to consider to address these issues. Rare earth elements (also referred to by the shorthand term “rare earths”) include the lanthanide series of 15 elements on the periodic table, beginning with atomic number 57 (lanthanum) and extending through element number 71 (lutetium). Two other elements, yttrium and scandium, often occur in the same rare earth deposits and possess similar properties. These 17 elements are referred to as “rare” because while they are relatively abundant in quantity, they appear in low concentrations in the earth’s crust and economic extraction and processing is both difficult and costly.

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