Updating Seismic Hazard Analysis for Nuclear Power Plants in the United States

Monday, December 19, 2011:


1:00 - 2:30 pm Eastern US Time

Nuclear power plants are built to withstand environmental hazards, including earthquakes. In evaluating the licensing of new plants in the central and eastern United States (CEUS), the industry recognized that new seismic hazard information has become available since many of these plants were designed and built as addressed in GI-199. The new seismic data suggests that although the potential seismic hazard at some nuclear power plants in the CEUS may have increased beyond previous estimates, but not so much as to need or warrant immediate action. The is generally an area of low to moderate earthquake hazard with few active faults in contrast to the western United States. Even so, in 1811–1812, three major earthquakes (Magnitude 7 to 7.7 on the commonly used Richter scale) shook much of the CEUS. These earthquakes occurred near the town of New Madrid, MO. In 1886, a large earthquake (Richter scale magnitude of about 7) occurred near Charleston, SC. Updated earthquake information will be as provided in the new EPRI/NRC/DOE studies associated with GI-199. Also, updated information has been evaluated by applicants in support of Early Site Permits and COLA’s for new reactors. This additional information included new models to estimate earthquake ground motion and updated models for earthquake sources in seismic regions in the CEUS.

This webinar will explore the processes and guidance used to evaluate the seismic hazards safety-significant structures, systems, and components being designed to take into account: More specifically, we will discuss issues likely to be considered by utilities and consultants responding to NRC’s expected Letter requesting responses to GI-199 expected in January 2012.

  • Expected changes in the shape of Seismic Source Zones in the CEUS
  • Expected changes in the Maximum Magnitude associated with the SSZ’s in the CEUS
  • Response Options for utilities with an existing operating plant and a pending COLA application for an adjacent Unit(s)
  • Will a utility need to have a new PSHA for an existing operating plant?
  • Will a utility need to have a new Probabilistic Safety Analysis run with new hazard curves or will an SMA be sufficient?


Any new nuclear plant the NRC licenses will use a probabilistic, performance-based approach to establish the plant’s seismic hazard and the seismic loads for the plant’s design basis. The webinar will also explore the implications of shifting to a risk-informed regulatory approach, including insights from probabilistic assessments and traditional deterministic engineering methods to make regulatory decisions about existing plants (e.g., licensing amendment decisions).


R. Budd Haemer
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Dr. Paul C. Rizzo, Ph.D., P.E.
President and CEO
Paul C. Rizzo Associates, Inc.



Erin Dolleris

Webinar Producer

For suggestions regarding future webinar topics, webinar speaking opportunities, or webinar sponsorship:
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Emily Baker

Webinar Coordinator

For general webinar questions:
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