Amir Ali, a CAES-affiliated Assistant Professor in Nuclear Engineering at Idaho State University, is leading a project in collaboration with fellow ISU faculty members Dan LaBrier, Chad Pope, and Jonathan Scott to upgrade the AGN-201M nuclear reactor at ISU. The project is one of 21 university-led projects awarded infrastructure grants through NEUP to perform research reactor and infrastructure improvements. The reactor at ISU is essential to advancing the Nuclear Engineering science knowledge and serves as a fundamental tool in the training of reactor operators, allowing students to gain valuable experience before entering the nuclear workforce. The reactor has been operating for more than a half-century, however, and the original control rod drive mechanism needs to be replaced in order to increase the reactor’s safety, performance, and reliability. Ali’s project, which received a $59,262 award from the Nuclear Energy University Program, calls for replacing the control rod drive mechanism with a newly developed alternative design that reduces its complexity and probability of failure, and improves the overall reliability and safety of the reactor.