Zahra Mohaghegh



  • 4047 Beckman Institute
  • 405 North Mathews Avenue
  • Urbana, Illinois 61801


Zahra Mohaghegh is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE) and an affiliate to the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Information Sciences, and the Illinois Informatics Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

The main objective of her research and education is advancing Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA), which is now one of the key pillars of the Risk-Informed regulatory framework for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 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 a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for organizational risk analysis and big data analytics in Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA); a three-year Department of Energy (DOE) grant for enterprise risk management; the 2016 American Nuclear Society 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 Award in risk assessment; and the Zonta International Award for her contribution to modeling large-scale complex systems.

After completing her postdoctoral research appointment at the Center for Risk and Reliability at the University of Maryland, in 2011, Mohaghegh established a risk management consulting company in Boston, Massachusetts (Soteria Consultants, LLC.). The company was awarded contracts with multiple industries and initiated a multi-year large-scale collaboration with the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC). In 2013, to fulfill her desire to teach and to interact with students in research, Mohaghegh disbanded the company and joined the faculty at Illinois. She transferred the STPNOC industry research project to UIUC for developing an integrated risk methodology for the resolution of Generic Safety Issue 191 (GSI-191). During the last four years, Dr. Mohaghegh and her graduate students have been involved in the risk-informed GSI-191 project, a long-standing issue for commercial Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) and the NRC.

In January 2013, Mohaghegh established the Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Research Laboratory ( in NPRE. Her research laboratory is advancing PRA for risk-informed design and regulation of conventional nuclear power plants and advanced reactors by contributing to two key areas of theoretical and methodological development: (1) spatio-temporal causal modeling of social and physical failure mechanisms in PRA to address the risk that emerges at the interface of human and technical systems, 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. On-going research projects can be found on the SoTeRiA Lab website:

The establishment of PRA at UIUC has not only been accomplished by research, but also through the courses Mohaghegh has developed and taught, i.e., both undergraduate and graduate courses in PRA. With support from the College of Engineering, Mohaghegh established the SoTeRiA Industry Affiliates Program (SoTeRiA-IAP), which is an industry-facing risk analysis entity at UIUC to bridge scientific research and industry challenges.

Dr. Mohaghegh 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. In March 2015, she developed and presented the U.S.-China Probabilistic Safety Assessment Workshop on “Risk-Informed Regulation and Safety Culture” in China, as part of the DOE’s Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology (PUNT) program, which brought together 72 nuclear experts from 28 diverse organizations. She is the author of a book and over sixty 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, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Iran.


  • 2019
    • H. Bui, T. Sakurahara, J. Pence, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Z. Mohaghegh, An Algorithm for Enhancing Spatiotemporal Resolution of Probabilistic Risk Assessment to Address Emergent Safety Concerns in Nuclear Power Plants, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Vol. 185, pp. 405-428, (2019)
    • J. Pence, T. Sakurahara, X. Zhu, Z. Mohaghegh, M. Ertem, C. Ostroff, E. Kee, Data-Theoretic Methodology and Computational Platform to Quantify Organizational Factors in Socio-Technical Risk Analysis, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Vol. 185, pp. 240-260, (2019)
    • T. Sakurahara, G. Schumock, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Z. Mohaghegh, Simulation-Informed Probabilistic Methodology for Common Cause Failure Analysis, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Vol. 185, pp. 84-99, (2019)
    • P. Farshadmanesh, T. Sakurahara, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Z. Mohaghegh, SHAKE-RoverD Framework for Nuclear Power Plants: A Streamlined Approach for Seismic Risk Assessment, Nuclear Technology, Vol. 205, Is. 3, pp. 442-463, (2019)
  • 2018
    • J. Pence, I. Miller, T. Sakurahara, J. Whitacre, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Z. Mohaghegh, GIS-Based Integration of Social Vulnerability and Level 3 Probabilistic Risk Assessment to Advance Emergency Preparedness, Planning, and Response for Severe Nuclear Power Plant Accidents, Risk Analysis, (2018)
    • T. Sakurahara, Z. Mohaghegh, S. Reihani, E. Kee, Methodological and Practical Comparison of Integrated Probabilistic Risk Assessment (I-PRA) with the Existing Fire PRA of Nuclear Power Plants, Nuclear Technology, Vol. 204, Is. 3, pp. 354-377, (2018)
    • • J. Pence, M. Abolhelm, Z. Mohaghegh, S. Reihani, M. Ertem, E. Kee, Methodology to Evaluate the Monetary Benefit of Probabilistic Risk Assessment by Modeling the Net Value of Risk-Informed Applications at Nuclear Power Plants, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Vol. 175, pp. 171-182, (2018)
    • • T. Sakurahara, Z. Mohaghegh, S. Reihani, E. Kee, M. Brandyberry, S. Rodgers, An integrated methodology for spatio-temporal incorporation of underlying failure mechanisms into fire probabilistic risk assessment of nuclear power plants, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Vol. 169, pp. 242-257, (2018)
  • 2016
    • E. Kee, J. Hasenbein, A. Zolan, P. Grissom, S. Reihani, Z. Mohaghegh, F. Yilmaz, B. Letellier, V. Moiseytseva, R. Vaghetto, RoverD: Use of Test Data in GSI-191 Risk Assessment, Nuclear Technology, Vol. 196, Is. 2, pp. 270-291, (2016)
  • 2009
    • Z. Mohaghegh, A. Mosleh, Incorporating organizational factors into probabilistic risk assessment of complex socio-technical systems: Principles and theoretical foundations, Safety Science, Vol. 47, Is. 8, pp. 1139-1158, (2009)
    • Z. Mohaghegh, A. Mosleh, Measurement techniques for organizational safety causal models: Characterization and suggestions for enhancements, Safety Science, Vol. 47, Is. 10, pp. 1398-1409, (2009)
    • Z. Mohaghegh, R. Kazemi, A. Mosleh, Incorporating organizational factors into Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) of complex socio-technical systems: A hybrid technique formalization, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Vol. 94, Is. 5, pp. 1000-1018, (2009)


The Communications Office maintains the information included in Beckman Institute's online directory listings. In order to update your directory listing, please submit the following information to

  • a short bio including information on your educational background and your field
  • any honors and awards you may have received
  • a description of your research (approximately 200-400 words)
  • a list of recent representative publications
  • a photo of yourself (you can submit one or we can take one for you)