- Developing & Implementing a Real-Time Earthquake Notification System for Nuclear Power Plant Sites Using the USGS Shakecast System
- A. Kammerer ; A.R. Godoy ; S. Stowall ; J.P. Ake ; A Altinoyollar ; N. Bekiri ; D.J. Wald ; K. Lin
- Book Title / Journal: Transactions Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT) Conference, New Delhi, India
- Year: 2011
- Soil Dynamics ; Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
- When an earthquake occurs near a nuclear power plant (NPP), specific information is quickly needed to support accurate real-time situational awareness, assessment of the potential impact to the installation, informed decision making, and effective communication with key stakeholders. To address this important need, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), in collaboration with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), are developing and implementing a custom ShakeCast system for post-earthquake real-time notification of ground shaking at NPP sites. The custom system, called Nuclear ShakeCast, is being developed to meet the unique informational needs of the global nuclear community. The project is currently focused on developing and implementing the Nuclear ShakeCast system within the IAEA and NRC. However, the software will be freely available to the international nuclear community once developed. Nuclear ShakeCast has the potential to incorporate observations, estimates of hazard levels, and plant fragility and license information into real-time automated comparisons of estimated ground motions against plantspecific shut-down criteria and basic NPP damage estimations. The earthquake shaking data used by the ShakeCast system is in the form of a ShakeMap, a map that displays earthquake shaking parameters spatially. If an earthquake occurs and is of sufficient size to trigger automatic creation of a new ShakeMap, the ShakeCast software retrieves the map and automatically begins a series of calculations based on protocols and databases specified a priori by the user. The system then sends an automated notification containing the information needed by key personnel in the response organization. The report includes basic information about the earthquake, the estimated levels of ground shaking calculated for those nuclear installation sites located in the affected region, and NPP design information important in the NPPs licensing basis. All this information–-supported by existing operating international seismological networks—is essential for a quick effective communication and decision making. Depending on the responding organization, communication may be with the effected utilities and NPPs, the regulatory body, the media, the public, and governmental organizations. Rapid and automated information is particularly important because affected organizations are busy dealing with the consequences and disruption caused by the earthquake.