Current Issues and Front Line of Strong Motion Research After the 3.

11 Tohoku Earthquake and Future Perspective for Nuclear Safety
Kojiro Irikura * * Kyoto University/Aichi Institute of Technology Background The 11 March 2011 giant earthquake with Mw 9.0 occurred off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, and is the largest historical earthquake in or near Japan. Very strong ground motions and huge tsunamis generated by the earthquake struck the east-coast lines in the Tohoku. There are four nuclear power plants near the source area of the earthquake, the Onagawa, the FukushimaNo.1, the Fukushima-No.2, and the Tokai-No.2. When the earthquake attacked those four plants, all of reactor-units were automatically shut down and began to be cooled by cooling systems until they were attacked by big tsunami waves. At the Fukushima No.1 plant, external electric powers were first stopped by strong ground motions although cooling systems was kept by independent power generation systems, but after huge tsunami waves arrived at the site water-tanks were broken, further all of the power generation systems were broken, as a result the cooling systems were completely broken. It made severe accidents of the reactors. At other four plants all units reached cold shutdown without any troubles. The severe accidents of the Fukushima No. 1 NPP were caused to deficiency of multifaceted protective mechanisms, not only the tsunami. If it had the defense in depth, the accidents might be minimized. Strong ground motions from the Tohoku earthquake The giant earthquake struck the east-coast of the Tohoku region, resulting more than 19,000 people being killed or missing. More than 120 thousands houses and buildings were totally destroyed and more than 240 thousands were half collapsed. Such damaged buildings were caused mostly by tsunami. Damage by shaking was relatively less. One of features of this earthquake is relatively small damage caused by ground motions. It comes from the characteristics of strong ground motions which are probably related to the rupture process of this earthquake. Regulatory Guide for Aseismic Design of Nuclear Power Reactor Facilities in Japan The “Regulatory Guide for Aseismic Design of Nuclear Power Reactor Facilities” was revised in 2006 by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan (NSCJ, 2006). Re-evaluating seismic safety of nuclear facilities as back-check based on the new regulatory guide has been made since September, 2006. First, comprehensive investigation of active faults in a target area surrounding the site, combining geomorphologic, geologic and geophysical surveys have been done not to miss any causative source faults. Next, advanced evaluation of the design basis ground motions (DGBM) Ss has been done by both methods, empirical response spectra and fault modeling. Further, seismic safety of important facilities and important components and piping had been evaluated against the DGBMs including four plants near the source areas of the Tohoku earthquake before the March 11 in 2011.


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