Performance assessment of conventional and base-isolated nuclear power plants for earthquake and blast loadings
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Nuclear power plants (NPPs) and spent nuclear fuel (SNF) are required by code and regulations to be designed for a family of extreme events, including very rare earthquake shaking, loss of coolant accidents, and tornado-borne missile impacts. Blast loading due to malevolent attack became a design consideration for NPPs and SNF after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The studies presented in this dissertation assess the performance of sample conventional and base isolated NPP reactor buildings subjected to seismic effects and blast loadings. The response of the sample reactor building to tornado-borne missile impacts and internal events (e.g., loss of coolant accidents) will not change if the building is base isolated and so these hazards were not considered. The sample NPP reactor building studied in this dissertation is composed of containment and internal structures with a total weight of approximately 75,000 tons. Four configurations of the reactor building are studied, including one conventional fixed-base reactor building and three base-isolated reactor buildings using Friction Pendulum(TM), lead rubber and low damping rubber bearings. The seismic assessment of the sample reactor building is performed using a new procedure proposed in this dissertation that builds on the methodology presented in the draft ATC-58 Guidelines and the widely used Zion method, which uses fragility curves defined in terms of ground-motion parameters for NPP seismic probabilistic risk assessment. The new procedure improves the Zion method by using fragility curves that are defined in terms of structural response parameters since damage and failure of NPP components are more closely tied to structural response parameters than to ground motion parameters. Alternate ground motion scaling methods are studied to help establish an optimal procedure for scaling ground motions for the purpose of seismic performance assessment. The proposed performance assessment procedure is used to evaluate the vulnerability of the conventional and base-isolated NPP reactor buildings. The seismic performance assessment confirms the utility of seismic isolation at reducing spectral demands on secondary systems. Procedures to reduce the construction cost of secondary systems in isolated reactor buildings are presented. A blast assessment of the sample reactor building is performed for an assumed threat of 2000 kg of TNT explosive detonated on the surface with a closest distance to the reactor building of 10 m. The air and ground shock waves produced by the design threat are generated and used for performance assessment. The air blast loading to the sample reactor building is computed using a Computational Fluid Dynamics code Air3D and the ground shock time series is generated using an attenuation model for soil/rock response. Response-history analysis of the sample conventional and base isolated reactor buildings to external blast loadings is performed using the hydrocode LS-DYNA. The spectral demands on the secondary systems in the isolated reactor building due to air blast loading are greater than those for the conventional reactor building but much smaller than those spectral demands associated with Safe Shutdown Earthquake shaking. The isolators are extremely effective at filtering out high acceleration, high frequency ground shock loading.