Faculty Profile

Zahra Mohaghegh

Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
Zahra Mohaghegh
Zahra Mohaghegh
Assistant Professor
111 G Talbot Laboratory MC 234
104 S. Wright Street
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 300-5076

Primary Research Area

  • Nuclear Power

Education

  • PhD, Reliability Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, USA, 2007

Biography

Zahra Mohaghegh, an assistant professor of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE) and a faculty affiliate of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, is dedicated to positioning the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a global leader in socio-technical risk analysis. To meet this goal, Mohaghegh, the director of the Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) research laboratory (http://soteria.npre.illinois.edu) in NPRE, is advancing Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA).

After completing her postdoctoral research appointment in 2011 at the Center for Risk and Reliability at the University of Maryland, Mohaghegh created a risk management consulting company in Boston. She made a move to academia in 2013 to fulfill her desire to teach and to interact with students through research. Zahra has diligently worked toward this goal; establishing the SoTeRiA Laboratory, where a multidisciplinary team of students, researchers, and industry professionals are advancing PRA through scientific innovation in two key areas: (i) spatio-temporal causal simulation of social and physical failure mechanisms, and (ii) the fusion of big data analytics with PRA.

When Mohaghegh joined the NPRE faculty, she transferred a large-scale industry research project sponsored by the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company to the university. The project involved developing an integrated risk methodology for the resolution of a 20-year, long-standing safety issue in the nuclear industry, Generic Safety Issue 191, which was related to the performance of the emergency core cooling system following a loss of coolant accident. For the last four years, Mohaghegh and her graduate students have been involved in the risk-informed GSI-191 project, which recently gained NRC approval.

In 2015, Mohaghegh became the principal investigator (PI) of a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to quantify organizational factors using big data analytics in PRA. In 2017, she became the PI for a three-year DOE grant for enterprise risk management to promote the sustainability of the U.S. nuclear fleet. Mohaghegh serves as a Chief Scientific Investigator and representative of the United States in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) coordinated research project, ￿Methodology for Assessing Pipe Failure Rates in Advanced Water Cooled Reactors.￿

She is the recipient of the 2016 American Nuclear Society Mary Jane Oestmann 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, and the George Apostolakis Award in risk assessment. She served as the Technical Chair for the 2013 American Nuclear Society Risk Management topical meeting and as the Academic Chair for the 2017 International Topical Meeting on Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Analysis (PSA 2017) Conference.

Academic Positions

  • Faculty Affiliate, Computational Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (April 2016 - present)
  • Part-time Faculty, Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (April 2015 - present)
  • Faculty Affiliate, Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (October 2014 - April 2015)
  • Faculty Affiliate, Illinois Informatics Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (September 2014 - present)
  • Faculty Affiliate, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (July 2014 - present)
  • Faculty Affiliate, Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (October 2013 - present)
  • Assistant Professor, Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (January 2013- present)

For more information

Major Consulting Activities

  • Founder & Principal Research Scientist, Soteria Consultants, LLC, Boston, MA (March 2010 - August 2013)

Resident Instruction

  • NPRE 461: Probabilistic Risk Assessment, Fall Semesters
  • NPRE 561: Advanced Risk Analysis for Technological Systems, Spring Semesters

Research Interests

  • Theoretical & Methodological Areas: Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA); System Reliability; Human Reliability Analysis; Uncertainty Quantification; Probabilistic Physics of Failure; Big Data Analytics for Risk Assessment; Spatio-Temporal Causal Modeling of Failure Mechanisms; Monetary Value of Risk Analysis
  • Application Areas: Fire PRA; Location-specific Loss-Of-Coolant Accident (LOCA) Frequency Estimations; Risk-Informed Resolution of Generic Safety Issue 191; Human and Organizational Influences on System Risk; Risk-Informed Regulation; Risk-Informed Emergency Preparedness, Planning and Response, Enterprise Risk Management

Research Areas

  • Nuclear Power
  • Reactor Transient and Accident Analysis
  • Reliability and Risk
  • Training and Education, Human Factors

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

Pending Articles

  • G. Schumock, S. Zhang, P. Farshadmanesh, J.G. Owens, N. Kasza, J. Stearns, T. Sakurahara, Z. Mohaghegh, Integrated risk-informed design (I-RID) methodology and computational application for FLEX equipment storage buildings of nuclear power plants, Progress in Nuclear Energy (Manuscript Under Review), (2019)
  • J. Pence, P. Farshadmanesh, C. Blake, Z. Mohaghegh, Data-theoretic approach for socio-technical risk analysis: A case study on text mining of licensee event reports of nuclear power plants, Safety Science (Manuscript Under Review), Is. Special Issue: Safety Analytics, (2019)
  • T. Sakurahara, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Z. Mohaghegh, Human reliability analysis (HRA)-based method for manual fire suppression analysis in an integrated probabilistic risk assessment, SCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems: Part B. Mechanical Engineering, Special Issue on Human Performance & Decision-making in Complex Industrial Environments (Manuscript Under Review), (2019)
  • W.C. Cheng, T. Sakurahara, S. Zhang, P. Farshadmanesh, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Z. Mohaghegh, K. Heckmann, J. Sievers, B. Lydell, C. Zammali, X.-X. Yuan, X. Duan, R. Alzbutas, G.-G. Lee, J.A. Karim, V. Morozov, C. Takasugi, T. Jevremovic, Review and categorization of existing studies on estimation of probabilistic failure metrics of reactor coolant pressure boundary (RCPB) components in nuclear power plants, Progress in Nuclear Energy (Manuscript Under Review), (2019)
  • H. Bui, T. Sakurahara, J. Pence, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Z. Mohaghegh, Integrating an agent-based model of first responder performance with a fire hazard propagation model to advance emergency response modeling in probabilistic risk assessment for nuclear power plants, SCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems: Part B. Mechanical Engineering, Special Issue on Human Performance & Decision-making in Complex Industrial Environments (Manuscript Under Review), (2019)
  • T. Sakurahara, Z. Mohaghegh, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Global importance measure methodology for integrated probabilistic risk assessment frameworks, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part O: Journal of Risk and Reliability (Manuscript Under Review), (2019)
  • J. Pence, Z. Mohaghegh, A discourse on the incorporation of organizational factors into probabilistic risk assessment: key questions & categorical review, Risk Analysis (Manuscript Under Review), (2019)

Professional Societies

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Member (2007 - Present)
  • American Nuclear Society, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Society for Risk Analysis, Member (2007 - Present)

Teaching Honors

  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2016)

Research Honors

  • Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women's Achievement Award from the American Nuclear Society (2016)
  • Dean￿s Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2015)
  • The George Apostolakis Fellowship in Risk Assessment (2012)
  • Zonta International Amelia Earhart Award (2007)

Public Service Honors

  • Recognition for Excellence as Technical Chair of Risk Management Topical Meeting from the American Nuclear Society (2013)