Flood Margin Assessment for Coastal Nuclear Power Plants in the U.S

Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a letter to all U.S. nuclear facilities requiring reassessment of their flood design basis using current regulations. Reassessment of flood design basis provides plant owners and developers with the necessary technical input and documentation of calculation methodologies and results to develop Updated Final Safety Analysis (USAR) for submittal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). To support the reassessment effort, RPS provided modelling services for six nuclear power plants in the U.S. to determine the storm surge, wave, tsunami, and seiche conditions each that could impact each plant.   

Timeline

  • 2011

    On March 11, 2011, the tsunami following the Tōhoku earthquake damages emergency generators at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant leading to several nuclear meltdowns and the release of radioactive material.

  • 2012

    On March 12, 2012, the NRC requires all licensed nuclear power plants in the U.S. reevaluate using present day information and guidance. 

  • 2012

    On May 11, 2012, the NRC issues Flooding Hazard Reevaluation Prioritization List for Reactor sites setting individual deadlines for each site. 

1 /03
2011

On March 11, 2011, the tsunami following the Tōhoku earthquake damages emergency generators at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant leading to several nuclear meltdowns and the release of radioactive material.

2012

On March 12, 2012, the NRC requires all licensed nuclear power plants in the U.S. reevaluate using present day information and guidance. 

2012

On May 11, 2012, the NRC issues Flooding Hazard Reevaluation Prioritization List for Reactor sites setting individual deadlines for each site. 

Key Details

Project Name

Flood Margin Assessment for Coastal Nuclear Power Plants in the United States

Client

Confidential

Sector

  • Nuclear facilities

Location

  • Eastern United States

Services provided

  • Flood and catchment modelling 
  • Sustainability and climate resilience 
  • Data management and analysis 
  • Design criteria studies 


Challenge

Many of the plants were last fully evaluated in the 1960s and 1970s required integration of 40-50 years of new environmental data with modern modelling techniques, while still meeting strict guidelines and specifications for assessing hurricanes, tsunamis, and seiche. 

Solution

RPS provided the following services for assessing the flood design basis at each plant: 

  • Used local climatology to determine the probable maximum hurricane parameters at each location and created matrix of hypothetical hurricanes 
  • Applied numerical modelling approach for assessing surge resulting from each hurricane 
  • Assessed climate change impacts such as sea level rise on storm surge heights 
  • Implemented numerical wave model to determine critical wave characteristics 
  • Calculated overland wave propagation and wave runup and overtopping  
  • Identified tsunamigenic sources and modelled tsunami propagation and runup  
  • Performed seiche analysis by determining natural period of oscillation and assessing local forcing for resonance potential 
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