Can non-linear seismic analysis be cost effective for assessment of a nuclear facility?


For a nuclear facility, non-linear seismic analysis is often avoided due to the difficulties in validation. However, in some circumstances it can be appropriate.

The glovebox tunnel system at the nuclear facility in question utilises a chemical bond between the glovebox feet and the supporting concrete slab. The strength of this chemical bond was evaluated via in-situ test work; and was shown to be less than originally assumed in the seismic assessment. This new data had the potential to compromise the containment boundary under seismic loading.

Paul Doyle will explain from the Client’s viewpoint why the testing was undertaken; and how this affected the seismic restraints for a single glovebox, leading on to undertaking some non-linear analysis. He will then explain how this work then led onto a need to consider the behaviour of multiple gloveboxes in a non-linear manner.

The main presentation on the non-linear analysis of this glovebox system will then be given by Steve Horrocks. The methodology for this analysis was to generate an ABAQUS finite element model of the coupled concrete building (including soil springs) and the glovebox system. The potential for bond failure was included by using connector elements that had the prescribed bond strength. Other non-linear stiffness effects were included such as gaps and bolted gasket connections. Non-linear material properties for the stainless and carbon steel were also defined. Modified real seismic time histories were used to drive the model at the soil springs located at the base of the building. The way in which the non-linear behaviour of the model was validated was also considered.

Assessment of the containment boundary was performed at every time step throughout each seismic event. This included monitoring the number of bond failures and the steelwork plastic strain, and calculation of the bolted gasket connection utilisations. The analysis produced a vast volume of data for many hundreds of feet, bolts, gaskets, etc. To make this data understandable, novel methods of graphical presentation was required; and this will be shown in the lecture.

The analyses demonstrated that the containment boundary was not compromised, even though a significant number of bonds failed. Based on this result it was recommended that no costly retrofits were required.

About the speakers

Steve Horrocks is an expert in seismic engineering, gained through many years of experience at ABS Consulting Ltd. His role involves the management of Nuclear Engineering Team at ABS Consulting Ltd. He is also the Technical Consultant for seismic analysis and assessment, particularly the evaluation of seismic walkdowns. Steve has undertaken significant training and practical exposure to seismic analyses and assessments to allow him to deliver expert opinion, pragmatic design advice and solutions to resolve the client’s seismic issues.

Paul Doyle is a Senior Consultant with Jacobs UK Ltd who for many years has been seconded to AWE as Seismic Technical Authority. In this role he is responsible for reviewing design of structures and mechanical plant subject to seismic loading; as well as setting standards and providing technical advice on seismic engineering. He has over 40 years of experience, with most of his career in the nuclear and power sectors. He is a Fellow of the Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers; and is currently Chairman of SECED.

Further information

This evening meeting is organised by SECED and chaired by Ming Tan (Mott MacDonald). Non-members of the society are welcome to attend. Attendance at this meeting is free. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served from 5.30pm. The meeting commences at 6pm and should end no later than 7.30pm. The bar will be open after the event. For further information, please contact Shelly-Ann Russell (tel. 020 7665 2147, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

This event will be broadcast online.

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Event Details

Event Date 26/02/2020 6:00 pm
Institution of Civil Engineers
1 Great George Street Westminster, London SW1P 3AA United Kingdom
Institution of Civil Engineers

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