New Directions in the Application of Probabilistic Concepts in the Seismic Analysis of Nuclear Power Plants

by John W. Reed, Jack R. Benjamin & Associates, Inc, Mountain View, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Materials and Member Behavior


During the last 8 years, probabilistic concepts have been used in the seismic analysis of nuclear power plants. Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) has been the primary vehicle for performing these type of analyses. The primary contributor to the large uncertainties is the ground motion hazard, which ultimately reflects the uncertainty of earthquake source mechanisms, spacial earthquake patterns, occurrence rates, upper and lower-bound magnitude cutoffs and attenuation functions. The ground motion uncertainty 'swamps' the uncertainty in the structure and equipment performance given the occurrence of a particular earthquake size. Because of this shortcoming of seismic PRA, a new procedure called seismic margin analysis is now being developed.

Subject Headings: Power plants | Probability | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Nuclear power | Risk management | Ground motion | Uncertainty principles

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