Candu’s Experience in Seismic Margin Assessment and Path Forward after Fukushima Accident

Wei Liu* and Ming Han** *Manager, Engineering Analysis, Candu Energy Inc. **Director, Civil Division, Candu Energy Inc.

Candu Energy Inc. (Candu) is a leading full-service nuclear technology company, providing nuclear power reactors and nuclear products and services to customers worldwide. There are more than twenty CANDU reactors in operation worldwide. Candu Energy Inc. is the successor company to the commercial reactor division of AECL. The Fukushima Daiichi accident has highlighted the importance of the defense-in-depth concept (namely prevention, mitigation, and emergency preparedness). Since 1990s, AECL and now Candu has performed risk assessment analyses, including internal events PSA, seismic, fire, and flood PSA, for the CANDU plants. The output of Candu’s practice in internal events PSA and external events PSA provides risk insights and dominant risk contributors, which eventually results in the prevention and mitigation of severe accidents. Upon review of lessons learned from the reactor accident at Fukushima, NRC’s Near-Term Task Force recommended seismic hazard evaluation as well as seismic walkdown. By performing the seismic SMA including the seismic hazard evaluation and seismic walkdowns, one could confirm that the Nuclear Power Plants have sufficient seismic margin to withstand seismic events higher than SSE or will identify any seismic vulnerabilities for improvement to ensure adequate seismic margin. To support the PSA-based SMA for various CANDU projects, Candu has provided engineering services in seismic hazard evaluations for Gentilly 2 NPP and Embalse NPP. Extensive seismic walkdowns were also performed for Point Lepreau, Gentilly 2, and Embalse NPPs. Candu has extensive experience and a long history of performing risk assessment analyses: • • Developed safety design matrices for the CANDU 6 plants in the early 1980s. Candu acknowledged the needs of the technical capability for the seismic PSA in 1990’s and established a generic CANDU PSA program. One of the purposes of the generic CANDU PSA program was to develop the technical capability for the external events PSA, including the seismic risk analysis. Candu established generic CANDU seismic PSA methodology. PSA for Wolsong 2, 3, and 4 was performed in the mid-1990s. Conducted Level 2 PSA for Point Lepreau Refurbishment. The scope included internal events, fires, seismic and floods. The Level 2 analysis work on PSA-based SMA has been 102

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accepted by the Canadian regulator (CNSC). The entire Lepreau Level II PSA was completed in 2008. Performed Level 2 PSA for ACR-1000. Candu prepared PSA-Based SMA methodology for Gentilly-2 incorporating recent changes in the seismic hazard for the site, selected SSC’s list for seismic capacity analysis, and performed seismic walkdowns and seismic capacity calculations, and developed PSA models for the SMA for the plant. Performed stress test for Cernavada units 1 and 2 in 2011. Candu is performing seismic risk analysis to support the Embalse life extension project. Candu is currently performing EPRI SMA (success path) for Qinshan phase 3 and Chinese Hongyanhe and Ningde CPR1000 reactors (PWR plant).

The results of seismic margin assessment provide the plant level HCLPF and seismic risk in terms of CDF and LRF when convolved with seismic hazard curves. The safety of a nuclear power plant is enhanced by identifying the plant’s seismic weak links and proposing design changes. After Fukushima accident, the safety of nuclear power plants against seismic events became a great concern to the public and the regulatory body. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has issued the CNSC Fukushima Task Force Report in October 2011 to address immediate actions taken by the CNSC, safety review of Canadian NPPs, strengthening reactor defense in depth, and enhancing emergency response. The CANDU seismic design philosophy including systems and equipment designed to fail safe, and in which failure of any system or equipment triggers the drop of control rods leading to reactor trip and shutdown etc, enhances the safety of CANDU nuclear power plants. Furthermore, the recommendations made by Candu from the recent stress test and risk assessment including specific emergency operating procedures to migrate the Station Blackout (SBO) and loss of spent fuel pool cooling, additional mobile diesel generators, adding of water make-up line to the reactor and passive autocatalytic hydrogen recombiners, etc., will improve the robustness of the CANDU nuclear power plants.


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