University of Missouri Research Reactor Center

University of Missouri Research Reactor Center

The University of Missouri Research Reactor Center (MURR) is home to a tank-type nuclear research reactor that serves the University of Missouri–Columbia's [ Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute (NSEI)] . The MURR is currently the highest power university research reactor in the U.S. at 10 megawatt thermal output. The fuel is highly enriched uranium.

History and overview

In 1959 University President Elmer Ellis proposes a research reactor, understanding that the many fields of research to benefit from nuclear science “are a part of the University of Missouri's educational responsibilities to our youth and to all our citizens.” The MURR began operation October 13, 1966 about one mile (1.6 km) southwest of the university's main campus and the city's main business district. The supplier of construction services was General Electric. In 1970 MURR scientist Dr. George Leddicotte gives the first courtroom testimony on murder trial evidence using neutron activation analysis. Four years later MURR begins operating at 10 MW, making it the highest powered U.S. university reactor. Ir-192 is first produced at MURR for fighting breast cancer in 1976. The first small angle neutron scattering (SANS) spectrometer in the U.S. is installed in 1980. In 1986 the first experiments are performed that lead to developing Quadramet and TheraSphere which were later FDA approved for helping fight against bone and liver cancer respectively.]

Since 2000 systematic upgrades, renovation and renewal to MURR facilities and instrumentation in preparation for the next 20 years of licensed operation have taken place. In 2002 a convert|6000|sqft|m2|abbr=on building addition opened the way for expansion into cGMP scaleup of isotopes. Groundbreaking began in 2006 on a convert|25000|sqft|m2|abbr=on addition to house laboratories, classrooms and offices to advance interdisciplinary research, education and treatment of patients. Currently MURR supports research of approximately 400 faculty and 150 graduate students representing more than 180 departments from more than 100 international universities and around 40 federal and industrial labs every year. A cyclotron that will supply mid-Missouri with isotopes for PET imaging and support additional research, development and clinical trials has been installed. [ [ Relicensing ] ]


Some important reactor events are summarized here.

The MURR is currently in the process of relicensing for 20 additional years, a process estimated to take 2-3 years. During this time the facility operates as normal.


The MURR has contributed to research in boron neutron capture therapy, neutron transmutation doping of semiconductor materials, use of radioisotopes for imaging and treatment of cancer, epidemiology, and archaeology along with many others.

Archaeometry Lab

This program has been funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) since 1988. The neutron activation capabilities are used to characterize over 30 different trace elements in various archaeological and geological materials. The data are employed by archaeologists for provenance studies to study trade and exchange of artifacts and by environmental scientists and geologists to investigate various natural processes.

External links

* [ Official Site]
* [ ABC's Radioactive Roadtrip Security Review of the Research Reactor Center]


* cite journal
last = Perez
first = Pedro B.
year = 2000
title = University Research Reactors: Contributing to the National Scientific and Engineering Infrastructure from 1953 to 2000 and Beyond
journal = National Organization of Test, Research and Training Reactors
url =


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