Title: SP-339-10: Guidelines for the Performance-Based Seismic Design of Seismic Category 1 Concrete Structures in Nuclear Power Plants
Author(s): John S. Ma
Publication: Symposium Paper
Appears on pages(s): 155-172
Keywords: containment building, containment internal structures, earthquake, performance-based design, safety, seismic design, and shield building
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) defines seismic Category 1 structures as the structures (buildings) that should be designed and built to withstand the maximum potential earthquake stresses for the particular region where a nuclear plant is sited. Seismic Category 1 structures have been designed for ground-shaking intensity associated with a safe-shutdown earthquake (SSE) – the intensity of the ground motion that will trigger the process of automatic shutdown of the reactor in operation. The SSE generates floor response spectra at different floor elevations in a building, and these spectra and their associated forces are used for the design of piping and piping anchors and equipment and equipment anchors at their floor locations. The NRC policy requires that the seismic Category 1
structures whose collapse could cause early or/and large release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere to be
analyzed/designed for “no collapse” during the ground-shaking intensity of a review-level earthquake (RLE), which
is 1.67 times that of an SSE. Most seismic Category 1 concrete structures, such as containment and shield buildings
(curved cylindrical wall; see Figs. 1 and 2 in the next section) and containment internal structures (straight wall; see
Fig. 1), use walls to resist earthquakes.
This paper presents guidelines for the performance-based seismic design for these wall-typed structures that could
meet the NRC policy. The method consists of (1) proportioning wall thickness based on shear stress of 6√fc’ (0.5√fc’ megapascals (MPa)) generated by SSE ground motions, (2) limiting vertical compressive stress in walls to less than
0.35 fc’, (3) providing minimum percentage of reinforcement of 1.0 percent to prevent steel reinforcing bar fracture,
(4) subjecting the building design to nonlinear dynamic response analyses under RLE ground motions, (5) identifying
any members and their connections in the building that have failed or collapsed during the RLE ground motions,
(6) increasing reinforcement or wall thickness, or both, to provide additional strength or/and ductility for the failed or
collapsed members and their connections, and (7) resubjecting the revised building design to the nonlinear dynamic
response analyses as stated in step (4) until no collapse of the building and its members and their connections. This
performance-based seismic design method is a direct, transparent, and scientific answer to whether these important
seismic Category 1 structures meet the NRC’s policy that they will not collapse during the RLE ground motions.
Examples of using the nonlinear dynamic response analyses are cited and described. Guidelines for the performance-based
seismic design of seismic Category 1 concrete Structures are listed at the end of this paper.