Seismic Design of Circular-Section Concrete-Lined Underground Openings—Preclosure Performance Considerations for the Yucca Mountain Site

by Archie M. Richardson, J. F. T. Agapito & Associates, Inc, Grand Junction, United States,
Thomas E. Blejwas, J. F. T. Agapito & Associates, Inc, Grand Junction, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Dynamic Analysis and Design Considerations for High-Level Nuclear Waste Repositories


Yucca Mountain, the potential site of a repository for high-level radioactive waste, is situated in a region of natural and man-made seismicity. Underground openings excavated at this site must be designed for worker safety in the seismic environment anticipated for the preclosure period. This includes accesses developed for site characterization regardless of the ultimate outcome of the repository siting process. Experience with both civil and mining structures has shown that underground openings are much more resistant to seismic effects than surface structures, and that even severe dynamic strains can usually be accommodated with proper design. This paper discusses the design and performance of lined openings in the seismic environment of the potential site. The types and ranges of possible ground motions (seismic loads) are briefly discussed. Relevant historical records of underground opening performance during seismic loading are reviewed. Simple analytical methods of predicting liner performance under combined in situ, thermal, and seismic loading are presented, and results of calculations are discussed in the context of realistic performance requirements for concrete-lined openings for the preclosure period. Design features that will enhance liner stability and mitigate the impact of the potential seismic load are reviewed. The paper is limited to preclosure performance concerns involving worker safety because present decommissioning plans specify maintaining the option for liner removal at seal locations, thus decoupling liner design from repository postclosure performance issues.

Subject Headings: Seismic design | Occupational safety | Linings | Seismic tests | Concrete | Radioactive wastes | Underground structures | Waste sites

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