Identifying significant earthquake intensity measures for evaluating seismic damage and fragility of nuclear power plant structures

Duy Duan Nguyen, Bidhek Thusa, Tong Seok Han, Tae Hyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Seismic design practices and seismic response analyses of civil structures and nuclear power plants (NPPs) have conventionally used the peak ground acceleration (PGA) or spectral acceleration (Sa) as an intensity measure (IM) of an earthquake. However, there are many other earthquake IMs that were proposed by various researchers. The aim of this study is to investigate the correlation between seismic responses of NPP components and 23 earthquake IMs and identify the best IMs for correlating with damage of NPP structures. Particularly, low- and high-frequency ground motion records are separately accounted in correlation analyses. An advanced power reactor NPP in Korea, APR1400, is selected for numerical analyses where containment and auxiliary buildings are modeled using SAP2000. Floor displacements and accelerations are monitored for the non- and base-isolated NPP structures while shear deformations of the base isolator are additionally monitored for the base-isolated NPP. A series of Pearson's correlation coefficients are calculated to recognize the correlation between each of the 23 earthquake IMs and responses of NPP structures. The numerical results demonstrate that there is a significant difference in the correlation between earthquake IMs and seismic responses of non-isolated NPP structures considering low- and high-frequency ground motion groups. Meanwhile, a trivial discrepancy of the correlation is observed in the case of the base-isolated NPP subjected to the two groups of ground motions. Moreover, a selection of PGA or Sa for seismic response analyses of NPP structures in the high-frequency seismic regions may not be the best option. Additionally, a set of fragility curves are thereafter developed for the base-isolated NPP based on the shear deformation of lead rubber bearing (LRB) with respect to the strongly correlated IMs. The results reveal that the probability of damage to the structure is higher for low-frequency earthquakes compared with that of high-frequency ground motions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-205
Number of pages14
JournalNuclear Engineering and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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