Soteria was the Greek spirit of safety, and of deliverance and preservation from harm. Similarly, the Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Laboratory is influenced by their shared vision: to usher in a new era, void of catastrophic technological accidents, where industry-academia projects are leveraged to raise social responsibility for the protection of workers, the public, and the environment. The SoTeRiA Laboratory is promoting Risk Analysis in NPRE to make UIUC a global leader in Risk Analysis education and research.

Excellence in Research

Assistant Professor Zahra Mohaghegh has been honored with the 2015 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Engineering at Illinois. Mohaghegh views the 2015 Dean’s award as the result of strong teamwork and state-of-the-art research emanating from the SoTeRiA Laboratory. Since coming to UIUC, Mohaghegh and her team have been involved in a large-scale academia-industry project sponsored by the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company, contributing to the development of an integrated risk methodology for the resolution of the nuclear industry’s 20-year challenging Generic Safety Issue 191 (GSI-191). The SoTeRiA lab has contributed to the theoretical and methodological advancements for risk analysis. Examples of the lab’s current research projects include: Fire Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) in nuclear power plants; Location-specific Loss of Coolant Accidents (LOCA) leading to Emergency Core Cooling System failure; Modeling the effects of human and organizational factors on nuclear power plants’ technical system failure; Socio-technical risk-informed emergency preparedness, planning and response modeling for severe accidents; and Evaluating the monetary value of PRA.

Multi-Departmental Risk Analysis Education

Professor Mohaghegh has introduced foundational Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) courses at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in order to train the next generation for risk analysts in high-consequence industries. The PRA courses that Mohaghegh has developed in NPRE have attracted diverse students from Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Industrial Systems and Enterprise Engineering, and Informatics. These courses address fundamental theories of risk-scenario modeling and accident phenomenology, uncertainty analysis, Bayesian and data analysis, probabilistic physics of failure, human error modeling, and next generation PRA methods and tools. Students are provided with hands-on opportunities using PRA software to address real-world risk analysis problems.