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GE Healthcare investing $17M in new SC plant

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) -- GE Healthcare is investing $17 million in a Florence, S.C. plant that will turn helium gas into supercool liquid needed for medical imaging.

The company, which is a unit of General Electric Co., announced Monday it's building a 5,000-square-foot facility next to its existing magnetic resonance plant. GE expects 10 of the 50 jobs created to be permanent.

The new plant will use GE's technology to capture pure helium gas and compress it into extremely cold liquid that's essential to MR production. GE says helium is the only element that can effectively keep an MR magnet at the necessary temperature of more than 440 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

MR systems use superconducting magnets to help doctors see inside patients without radiation exposure.

GE Healthcare's MR magnet production plant has operated in Florence for 30 years and employs 350 people.