MU Research Reactor Helps Maintain Drug Supply Across Nation

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COLUMBIA - The MU Research Reactor is the only reactor of its kind in the United States and is  scheduled to undergo maintenance in December, which would require it to stop making the ingredients for drugs used by cancer patients.

MU Research Reactor Center Director, Ralph Butler said there are only six reactors in the world and the only one in the United States [MU's] capable of producing certain ingredients. 

"When one of the reactors go down, the rest of us comes to the rescue and makes up the difference, but in this case there are two reactors in unscheduled shutdown, so if we were to proceed with our maintenance then half of these reactors would be shut down and that becomes a tremendous impact in the medical community," Butler said. 

Every week the reactor goes through routine checks to make sure everything is working properly, then every eight years a major maintenance is scheduled. 

By keeping the reactor running through December, it is supplying approximately 1,000 patients per week their medicine and helping maintain the drug supply for the nation. 

The MU Research Reactor produces ingredients for cancer-fighting drugs shipped to 18 different countries.