Situated in a 30-foot-deep pool, the 10-megawatt core of the MU Research Reactor (MURR) is used to expose samples and produce isotopes for medical radiopharmaceuticals and research. MURR began operations in 1966 and is currently the only research reactor in the world that operates six and half days per week, year-round. Using this unique facility, the University of Missouri has long been a leader in developing lifesaving imaging and cancer treatments.


The University of Missouri announced March 23 an initiative to build a new, larger research reactor that will expand critical cancer-fighting research and medical isotope production at MU. Medical isotopes are used in cancer treatments and imaging agents to diagnose cancers and heart disease. Because of the targeted nature of the treatment, medical isotopes are effective in eliminating tumors without damaging the surrounding cells.

The new project, NextGen MURR, will build on the internationally recognized excellence of the MU Research Reactor (MURR), the highest powered university research reactor and the only producer in the United States of the critical medical isotopes yttrium-90, used for the treatment of liver cancer; molybdenum-99, for analysis of heart functions; iodine-131, used for treatment of thyroid cancer; and lutetium-177, used for treatment of pancreatic and prostate cancers.

“The work that we do at MURR saves and improves thousands of lives each and every day,” said Mun Choi, University of Missouri president. “NextGen MURR will produce advanced cancer medicines for the next 75 years and solidify the University of Missouri’s position as the most important resource for medical isotopes in the United States.”

Read more about the NextGen MURR initiative.