Evaluation of ASCE 43-05 Seismic Design Criteria for Rocking Objects in Nuclear Facilities
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Seismic response of free standing un-anchored objects is required to be studied in Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) for their own integrity and potential interaction with the surrounding seismically qualified safety systems. Rocking response of a rigid body subject to seismic excitation is not very well covered in the nuclear standards except for an approximate method given in ASCE 43-05 where the design basis earthquake (DBE) response spectrum for the NPPs given in the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) regulatory guide 1.60 (known as NBK spectrum developed by Newmark, Blume and Kapur (1973)) is considered as seismic input. This study evaluates existing seismic design criteria for unanchored objects that are vulnerable to rocking and overturning inside nuclear power plants. The original work of Newmark et al (1973) is revisited in order to obtain the NBK spectra at unusual damping (8.4% for example), required in order to follow the ASCE 43-05 method. Eight earthquake records are selected from Newmark et al (1973) with varying Peak Ground Accelerations (PGAs) representing strong to moderate ground motions. Rocking response of rigid bodies to various earthquakes is determined by three methods: 1. The ASCE 43-05 method utilizing the NBK spectrum, 2. The ASCE 43-05 method utilizing the response spectrum of the earthquake records, and 3. solving the equations of motion of a rigid body for the earthquake records. Rocking spectra by these three methods created for eight earthquake records are compared with one another. It is concluded that the ASCE 43-05 method provides inaccurate predictions of the response. Considering the significant level of effort required to implement the ASCE 43-05 method, its inherent contradictions, and its inconsistent conservatism in estimating the seismic demands on rocking objects, it is concluded that the results obtained by nonlinear time history analysis are more accurate, reliable and less time consuming than those by the ASCE 43-05 method. The use of nonlinear dynamic analysis is recommended to obtain the pure planar rocking response of unanchored objects in nuclear facilities.
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