To educate students at Idaho State University on the safe operation of a nuclear reactor, the theory of radiation, radiation safety, fission, etc. The ISU AGN-201m reactor’s principal purpose is to educate students through operations and experimentation. Thus, the students are able to learn hands on and obtain a unique educational experience.
The Idaho National Laboratory donated the AGN-201m reactor to ISU in 1965. More than forty of these reactors were in use, however only five remain in the world today. Three of these five remain in operation in the United States. The reactor was originally kept in the first engineering building and then in 1969 it was moved to the Lillibridge Engineering (LEL) Building. The reactor had to be lowered into the LEL building by a crane due to its size. The reactor was only approved to generate 0.5 Watts of thermal energy (heat) when first operated here at ISU. After proving the safety of the reactor, an upgrade to generate 5 Watts of thermal energy was approved.