Medical Research Reactor

To meet scientists' needs for neutrons for medical research, the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor (BMRR) was built. This reactor, which was the first in the nation to be constructed specifically for medical research, reached criticality on March 15, 1959, and continued operations until December, 2000. 

Operators in the control room of the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, 1995.

One of the reactor's four faces was equipped for the irradiation of large objects, while the holes that penetrated another face permitted irradiation of samples, activation analysis and production of short-lived radioisotopes. From the remaining two ports, streams of neutrons traveled to treatment rooms, for carefully controlled animal and clinical studies.

One of the treatments pioneered at this reactor was boron neutron capture therapy, or BNCT. This promising treatment was developed for use against glioblastoma multiforme, an otherwise untreatable and deadly form of brain cancer.

Did you know?

The BMRR was a 3 megawatt (thermal) reactor, 1,000 times smaller than the typical power reactor. It was similar in size to about 30 other research reactors that could be found around the U.S. during the years it operated.

Other Reactors

Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor

High Flux Beam Reactor

Medical Research Reactor