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Bipartisan group of state lawmakers tour MU’s nuclear research reactor

About 10 Missouri state lawmakers toured the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) in Columbia Monday. The tour was organized by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the University.

The University of Missouri’s website says the 10-megawatt MURR is “the most intense neutron source of the approximately 27 other research reactors located on University campuses.” The website notes MURR “currently supports the research of hundreds of faculty and students each year in dozens of disciplines.”

The Columbia Chamber unveiled its legislative priorities in January. One of those priorities is securing a $10 million appropriation for FY 2017 to expand education and training for the MURR. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon did not include the funding in his proposed budget. Under the state Constitution, Missouri lawmakers must approve the budget by early May.

Missouri lawmakers scheduled to participate in Monday’s tour include State Reps. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia; Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia; Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage; Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson; and Courtney Curtis, D-Ferguson. Flanigan chairs the Missouri House Select Budget Committee, and Lichtenegger chairs the Missouri House Appropriations Committee on Higher Education.

Then-Gov. James Blair signed an appropriations bill in 1959 to fund the MURR project and that amount was later supplemented by then-Gov. John Dalton, according to the University’s website. State allocations then totaled about $3.4 million. The MURR was in operation by the fall of 1966.

ABC 17’s Dan Messineo is participating in Monday’s tour, and will have an update on ABC 17 News at 6 p.m.

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