Risk Analysis @ the Engineering Undergraduate Research Resource Fair
At the recent Engineering at Illinois Undergraduate Research Resource Fair, the Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Laboratory engaged visitors by giving an overview of ongoing research and providing examples of current projects.
Under the direction of Zahra Mohaghegh, assistant professor in Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at Illinois, the SoTeRiA Laboratory has a mission to provide scientific and innovative research solutions to complex real-world problems of safety, reliability, security, and profitability. SoTeRiA graduate research assistants and undergraduate researchers shared the work from that mission with visitors at the resource fair.
A diverse group of undergraduate students expressed interest in the SoTeRiA Lab due to its multi-disciplinary nature of research. Some students seemed interested in uncertainty quantification in risk analysis, while others inquired about the systematic computational simulations in risk analysis research being conducted.
The SoTeRiA team is advancing Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) by explicitly incorporating the underlying science of accident causation into risk scenarios. This research provides quantitative insights that aid in: (a) reducing Common Cause Failure occurrence in operating nuclear power plants and (b) making risk-informed designs and licensing decisions for new reactors.
The SoTeRiA laboratory’s two key areas of methodological developments 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 lab’s on-going research application projects with the U.S. nuclear power plants include:
- fire PRA,
- location-specific Loss-Of-Coolant Accident (LOCA) frequency estimations,
- global risk importance measure,
- modeling the effects of human and organizational influences on technical system failure,
- monetary value of PRA,
- risk-informed emergency preparedness, planning and response modeling for severe accidents, and
- risk-informed resolution of Generic Safety Issue 191, a long-standing issue for commercial nuclear power plants and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.