Frequently Asked Questions

What is CAES?

CAES is a partnership between INL and the state through its three public research universities – Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho.

Who owns CAES?

The 55,000-square-foot building is owned by the state of Idaho. It is technically an Idaho State University facility. ISU’s staff maintains the building.
The $17 million spent to build CAES came from several sources, including the state of Idaho; the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); and INL managing contractor Battelle Energy Alliance with its parent corporations Battelle Memorial Institute and URS Washington Division, which backed $10 million in bonds for the building.

Who runs CAES?

Dr. Steve Aumeier, an INL associate lab director, leads CAES. There are also associate directors from each of the university partners:  Dr. Bob Smith of University of Idaho, Dr. David Solan and Dr. Darryl Butt of Boise State University, and Dr. Jason Harris of Idaho State University. 
INL leases 70 percent of the building. The three universities each lease 10 percent.

Why was CAES built?

The concept for CAES actually dates back to 2004, when the Department of Energy was bidding the contract to run INL. Part of its strategic outline included creating a partnership between the lab and the state’s three research universities to promote collaboration. The idea originated with former Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, Bill Magwood.

What is its mission?

The center is committed to conducting research to address the country’s and Idaho’s energy challenges, with emphasis on nuclear.  It also is charged with addressing the looming nuclear energy work-force shortage.

What kind of research does CAES conduct?

CAES’ research is focused on nuclear science and engineering, advanced materials science, bioenergy, carbon management/geothermal energy, energy policy, modeling and simulation and energy efficiency.

So how is the research conducted at CAES different than at INL or the universities?

CAES' research is designed to complement the work being done at each of the partner institutions. For example, CAES might conduct bench-scale versions of research and development that INL could then take to full scale. All CAES research and development involves the collaboration of at least two of its partners.


How is CAES funded?

CAES funding comes from a variety of stakeholders including the state of Idaho, the federal government through the DOE, and a variety of customers from private industry and government agencies.

Do I need to have an INL badge or security clearance to enter the building?

No, you do not. Because CAES is a state-owned building, visitors are not required to undergo the same screening as if they were entering an INL facility.