The University of Missouri has hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a 47,000-square-foot addition to the MU Research Reactor (MURR) facility. The new $20m, three-story addition to the existing MURR North Building will expand the facility’s research and medical isotope production space. The 10 MW MURR is the most powerful university research reactor in the US, operating 24 hours a day, 6.5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Each year, 1.6m patients benefit from medical isotopes produced there.

“The new MURR West facility will drive even more research and development that will improve and save lives,” said University of Missouri President Mun Choi. “This facility will significantly increase radioisotope production to treat citizens of Missouri and the nation.”

Michael Williams, Chair of the MU Board of Curators said: “MURR is the only producer in the country of four medical isotopes used in lifesaving treatments for liver, thyroid, pancreatic and prostate cancer. This new addition expands our ability to improve the lives of Missourians and patients around the country.”

The expansion, scheduled for completion in fall 2024, will also enable more collaboration with industry partners and will provide additional space for a growing workforce. Matt Sanford, Executive Director of MURR said the work that will take place in the new space will be done using isotopes produced at MURR “and spans the entire breadth of our research and manufacturing programmes”.

The first floor will provide 16,000 square feet for research initiatives, medical isotope production and collaborative projects with researchers at MU and industry partners. The second and third floors provide space for employees currently working in temporary buildings, manufacturing support, research and development, regulatory documents and records, and shell space for future expansion.

“This expansion will ensure we continue the great work we’re doing here as we also prepare for our next big initiative, NextGen MURR,” Sanford said. “Our plans to build a new, state-of-the-art reactor will further add to our research and isotope production capabilities. Together, these will provide our researchers, clinicians and partners with the tools and spaces they need to continue making key breakthroughs.”

Image: A groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the expansion of the university's research reactor (courtesy of University of Missouri)