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Seminar: Advanced Probabilistic Risk Assessment Research & Education at U. of Illinois

April 5 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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Dr. Zahra Mohaghegh
Assistant Professor
Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE)
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign


The Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Laboratory (http://soteria.npre.illinois.edu/) is advancing Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) for Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) by explicitly incorporating the underlying science of accident causation into risk scenarios. Explicit inclusion of failure phenomena allows for a model-based Common Cause Failure (CCF) analysis that deals with modeling dependent failures in PRA. The research provides quantitative insights that aid in: (a) reducing CCF occurrence in operating NPPs and (b) making risk-informed designs and licensing decisions for new reactors. Two key areas of theoretical and methodological development include: (1) spatio-temporal causal modeling of social and physical failure mechanisms in PRA, and (2) the fusion of big data analytics with PRA. The SoTeRiA Laboratory has integrated classical PRA techniques with simulation-based methods, leading to the development of a new multi-level computational platform, called Integrated PRA (I-PRA), that enables the coupling of underlying failure mechanisms with component-level failures and system-level risk scenarios. This talk provides an overview of some of the lab’s on-going research projects, and shares a vision for PRA research and education.


Zahra Mohaghegh is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE) and an affiliate to the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Graduate School of Information Sciences, Computational Science and Engineering, and the Illinois Informatics Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).   She is the recipient of a three-year Department of Energy (DOE) grant for enterprise risk management to promote the sustainability of the U.S. nuclear fleet, a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for organizational risk analysis and big data analytics in risk assessment, the 2016 American Nuclear Society Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award for her innovation in risk analysis, the 2016 Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, the 2015 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Engineering, the George Apostolakis early-career award in risk assessment, and the Zonta International Award for her contribution to modeling large-scale complex systems. Dr. Mohaghegh and her SoTeRiA research laboratory have been actively involved in the risk-informed resolution of Generic Safety Issue 191 (GSI-191), a long-standing issue for commercial nuclear power plants and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). She is the author of a book and over forty conference and journal publications on risk analysis. She holds a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Reliability Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.


April 5
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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