No state funds allocated for MU Research Reactor this legislative session

MURR needs $8 million for training expansion

No state funds allocated for MU...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The University of Missouri Research Reactor is the only one of its kind in the world, creating radio isotopes used to fight cancer.

"It produces the cancer-treating isotopes that are shipped worldwide on almost a daily basis," said Matt McCormick, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. "That's something important that we have here and we want to grow the workforce with it."

Because of its groundbreaking work, Northwest Medical Isotopes plans to set up a facility in Columbia and will bring about 100 new jobs with it.

But the reactor needs to expand its facilities in order to provide more in-depth training to students and other potential workers who handle the radioactive materials every day.

Local leaders, including McCormick, sought $8 million from the state government in the 2016 legislative session and were able to secure $2 million. But right at the end of the session, that money was withheld. The 2017 session came and went, and still the money did not get allocated to the reactor.

"The state of Missouri was having a budget shortfall," said Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch. "Unfortunately, we had to make some necessary cuts."

Reisch is one of the Boone County lawmakers that has toured the facility, and said she believes it has supreme importance, medically and economically.

"This is a growing industry," she said. "There's so much unknown of the uses and things this can provide and not just in health care. We need a facility like this to be able to find cures for diseases and other economic-related industries this can help."

McCormick said local leaders will continue to ask for the funding in the 2018 session and hope the project isn't delayed or canceled.

Reisch said the reactor is on the forefront of the local delegation's minds.

"We are going to fight for the University of Missouri; we're going to fight for the research reactor and try to get those needed funds to expand the facility and their classroom space."

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