Zahra Mohaghegh

Zahra Mohaghegh
Zahra Mohaghegh
Associate Professor
(217) 300-5076
111 G Talbot Laboratory

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Education

  • University of Maryland at College Park, Ph.D., Reliability Engineering, 2007
  • University of Maryland at College Park, M.S., Reliability Engineering, 2006

Biography

Zahra Mohaghegh is an Associate Professor and Donald Biggar Willett Faculty Scholar in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  She is the Director of the Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Research Laboratory at UIUC, advancing risk science and applications for the safety and economic viability of complex technological systems such as commercial nuclear power plants and advanced reactors. Mohaghegh has conducted research on probabilistic risk assessment, probabilistic physics of failure analysis, human-system reliability modeling, risk-informed decision making, and uncertainty analysis, benefiting from grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, nuclear power industry, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. She received the George Apostolakis Award in risk assessment and the American Nuclear Society Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award for her pioneering in the introduction of human and organizational factors into the risk analysis of socio-technical systems in nuclear and other high-risk industries. Mohaghegh has consistently applied her expertise in nuclear risk analysis to a wide array of technological challenges, enhancing policymaking and regulation across sectors; for example, she served as a member of the Committee on “Transport Airplane Risk Assessment Methodology” of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and is currently a member of the U.S. National Academies’ Committee on “Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Coast Guard Certificate of Compliance Examination Program for Gas Carriers.”

Academic Positions

  • 2024-present, Donald Biggar Willett Faculty Scholar, Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2020-present, associate professor, Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2019-present, affiliate faculty, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2015-present, part-time faculty, Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2014-present, affiliate faculty, Illinois Informatics Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2014-present, affiliate faculty, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2013-2020, assistant professor, Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2008-2011, post-doctoral research associate, Center for Risk and Reliability, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Other Professional Employment

  • Leader, risk management focus area, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) review panel of the Carbon Free Power Project for the first U.S. small modular reactor (SMR) plant, April 2023-July 2023
  • Chief scientific investigator and U.S. representative, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) coordinated research project, “Methodology to Estimate Pipe Failure Rates for Risk-Informed Analysis in Advanced Water-Cooled Reactors,” 2018-2021
  • Founder & principal research scientist, SoTeRiA Consultants, LLC, Boston, MA, 2010-2013. Collaborated with a team of experts from South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC), ABS Consulting, Los Alamos National Laboratories, the University of Texas at Austin, University of New Mexico, Texas A&M University, and Alion Science and Technology Corp. to support the risk-informed resolution of Generic Safety Issue 191, a long-standing issue for commercial nuclear power plants and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Resident Instruction

  • NPRE 461: Probabilistic Risk Assessment, Fall Semesters
  • NPRE 561: Advanced Risk Analysis for Technological Systems, Spring Semesters
  • NPRE 200: Math for Nuclear Engineers, Fall Semesters

Research Interests

  • Socio-Technical Risk Analysis; probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) for conventional power plants and advanced nuclear reactors; probabilistic physics-of-failure analysis; human-system reliability modeling; uncertainty quantification; risk-informed policymaking for the safety and economic viability of complex technological systems

Research Areas

  • Reliability and Risk
  • Risk and Policy
  • Training and Education, Human Factors

Books Authored or Co-Authored (Original Editions)

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

Abstracts (in print or accepted)

Magazine Articles

Reports

Professional Societies

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, member, 2007-present
  • Society for Risk Analysis, member, 2007-present
  • American Nuclear Society, member, 2009-present
  • International Association for Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management (IAPSAM), member of the Board of Directors, 2020-present

Other Outside Service

  • Invited Member, Community of Experts on the “Implementation of Improvements to the Transport Airplane Risk Assessment Methodology,” U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, May 2023-May 2024
  • Invited Member, Committee on “Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Coast Guard Certificate of Compliance Examination Program for Gas Carriers,” U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, November 2022-April 2024
  • Invited member, Nuclear Education, Skills, and Technology (NEST) small modular reactor (SMR) project, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development-Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD-NEA), 2022-present
  • Invited reviewer for a consensus study report on the “Technical Feasibility of a Wheelchair Securement Concept for Airline Travel,” U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington, D.C., June 2021
  • Invited member, Committee on “Transport Airplane Risk Assessment Methodology,” U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, May 2021-August 2022. The committee released its report to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June 2023 after many months of deliberation, research, and examination
  • Invited member, Board of Directors, International Association for Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management (IAPSAM), 2020-present

Recent Courses Taught

  • NPRE 200 - Mathematics for NPRE
  • NPRE 461 - Probabilistic Risk Assessment
  • NPRE 561 (NPRE 498 PRA, NPRE 598 PRA) - Advanced Risk Analysis
  • NPRE 595 - Student Research Seminar