CAES resident, an Idaho State University Professor, Receives NRC Grant

Idaho State University’s Nuclear Engineering Program received a $450K grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission through the Faculty Development Grants to support the research program of assistant professor Amir Ali.
The program provides support for education in nuclear science, engineering and related trades to develop a workforce capable of the design, construction, operation and regulation of nuclear facilities and the safe handling of nuclear materials. It is for faculty members in the first four years of their career and is intended to support faculty development under supervision by a mentor.
Ali, who leads the Catalysis and Transient Kinetics (CTK) Laboratory at CAES, plans to use the award to create a program enabling thermal hydraulic research in ISU’s Nuclear Engineering department.
“We’ve never had that at ISU,” Ali said, adding that the new program will meet a “strong need” from Idaho National Laboratory.
The program Ali is developing under the mentorship of Chad Pope, a professor and Nuclear Engineering program director at ISU and principal investigator on the grant, will feature 2-3 courses, one on computational thermal hydraulics and another on fire protection systems for nuclear applications. Ali plans to introduce one course per year over the next two to three years, with the classes taught at University Place in Idaho Falls. He also plans to hire one doctorate-level student to help with the new program.
The most immediate impact of Ali’s award on CAES will be the introduction of research on the fission gas release phenomenon in advanced reactors. The plan is to determine how the failure of a fuel rod would impact neighboring rods.
Ali plans to slightly modify an existing heat exchanger facility in CTK to accommodate the work.