Effect of Soil-Structure Interaction on the Seismic Fragility of a Nuclear Reactor Building

[+] Author and Article Information
Samer El-Bahey

ASME Membership, JENSEN HUGHES, 1626 N. Litchfield Rd., Ste#350, Goodyear, AZ, 85395

Yasser Alzeni

ASME Membership, Alexandria University, Egypt, El-Gaish Rd, Alexandria, Egypt

Konstantinos Oikonomou

ASME Membership, JENSEN HUGHES, 1626 N. Litchfield Rd., Ste#350, Goodyear, AZ, 85395

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039076 History: Received September 30, 2016; Revised January 16, 2018


Recently the nuclear industry has made a tremendous effort to assess the safety of nuclear power plants (NPP), as advances in seismology have led to the perception that the potential earthquake hazard in the United States may be higher than originally assumed. The Seismic Probabilistic Risk Assessment (S-PRA) is a systematic approach that allows for identification of dominant contributors to seismic risk. Component fragility assessment is a crucial task in the S-PRA. Due to the conservatism in the NPP design, structures and safety related items are capable of withstanding earthquakes larger than the Safe Shutdown Earthquake (SSE). One major aspect of conservatism in the design is ignoring the effect of Soil-Structure Interaction (SSI), which results in conservative estimates of seismic demands for plant equipment. In this paper, a typical Reactor Building (RB) is chosen for a case study to investigate the potential benefit of accounting for SSI effects. A lumped mass stick model is first developed and analyzed with a fixed base (FB) configuration, using the free-field ground motion as input at the foundation level, as well as with a SSI configuration. Fragility analyses are then performed for the RB and one of its components to quantify the effects of the SSI on the overall seismic risk. In each case, a family of seismic fragility curves are developed. It is found that consideration of SSI effects in the analysis can improve the component fragilities, and potentially enhance the Core Damage Frequency (CDF) of the plant.

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