Ram Srinivasan and Jean-Michel Thiry Technical Consultant and Senior Expert, AREVA Inc., San Jose, CA, USA Senior Expert, AREVA NP SAS, Lyon Cedex, France

Recent Earthquakes in Japan (2007 Chuetu-Oki, and 2011 Tohoku) and in USA (2011 Mineral, VA) have shown that plant systems, structures, and components (SSC) have considerable design margin. For example, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Plant Unit 1 measured a basemat maximum peak ground acceleration (PGA) of 0.69g while the design basis PGA was only 0.27g. Thus, the design basis PGA was exceeded by a factor 2.5 and yet no structural damage was reported to any of the SSC’s. Similarly during the infamous 2011 Tohoku (Magnitude 9) earthquake resulted in PGA’s at the Onagawa nuclear plants in Japan exceeding their design basis PGA’s by up to 1.26 times and no structural damage was reported. This fact was confirmed by a recent (August 2012) inspection by an IAEA international expert team. The 2011 Mineral, VA earthquake that shook the North Anna plants in the US resulted in the containment basemat response spectra exceeding the design basis response spectra over a wide frequency range (3 to 33 Hz). Yet there was no structural damage to the SSC’s. Current industry practice in the seismic analysis of nuclear plant SSC’s does not consider the relative seismic risk of the systems and structures to the plant core damage frequency (CDF). Numerous Seismic PSA and Seismic Margin Assessment have shown that several SSC’s (typically, distributed systems like piping, cable trays, etc.) have sufficiently high fragility and contribute little seismic risk to the overall plant CDF. Past and current industry practice is to generate very refined models and perform seismic analysis of such distributed systems with very restrictive design and construction acceptance criteria. Such restrictive acceptance criteria are not warranted based on the high fragility of these systems. More realistic acceptance criteria based on fragility and relative seismic risk considerations would be appropriate for such systems. Another area of seismic analysis that requires more realistic approach involves the response calculations to high frequency (> 20 Hz) ground motions. Certain site-specific ground motion response spectra (GMRS) in the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS) and elsewhere in the world have frequency content greater than 20 Hz. Conventional seismic analysis practice would be to generate finite element models of the SSC’s that are sufficiently refined to capture modes up to the frequency where the GMRS converges to the ZPA. The associated analytical effort with the seismic soil-structure interaction (SSI) analysis is very significant and often resulting in approximations in the SSI methodology (such as the SASSI subtraction method). Based on results from seismic tests and experience data, the effects of the high frequency seismic motions are limited to a few components (for example, electrical switches and relays). In addition, the high frequency ground motion itself is dampened if the spatial incoherency of the ground motion is appropriately considered. Considering the limited number of plant components potentially vulnerable to the HF ground motion very refined 3D models of the entire nuclear island is not warranted. Simplified models of the overall nuclear island structures with detailed sub-models 98

of the areas housing the HF vulnerable components would be appropriate. Such an approach would also enable better modeling of the plant structures and soil, even consideration of nonlinearities of the soil. Better understanding and modeling of the soil and structure interaction is needed to analyze soil failure modes and obtain more realistic fragility data. Future efforts in seismic analysis and design of nuclear SSC’s should be directed towards realistic modeling of plant SSC’s consistent with their relative contribution to the overall seismic risk and CDF of the plant.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful