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Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Investigation upon the dynamic structural response

of a nuclear plant on aseismic isolating devices
I. Micheli a,∗ , S. Cardini a , A. Colaiuda b , P. Turroni b
a Ansaldo Energia Nuclear Division I-16161 Genova, Italy
b ENEA Accelerator Driven System Project I-40129 Bologna, Italy
Received 29 January 2002; received in revised form 16 June 2003; accepted 23 June 2003

The behaviour of a special isolating system for the Nuclear Island of an ADS Plant is here analysed, with a preliminary
assessment of base isolation main effects on the building response to a typical earthquake excitation.
After a general description of isolators and main principles of seismic isolation, the attention is focused upon the HDRB
isolator and its major applications to date.
The application to the ADS Plant is investigated through an iterative approach combining the results from a three-dimensional
finite element model and simplified by-hand calculations taking into account the typical non-linear characteristics of considered
The analysis results allow a comparison between the NI building seismic response for a basemat on classical foundations and
for two different types of isolators. The comparison is focused on the acceleration floor response spectra evaluated at the reactor
support level, a basic concern in the main vessel seismic design.
Given results highlight the drastic reduction of considered floor accelerations as the base isolation major effect.
The criteria presently recommended for the stability of isolated buildings are also verified.
© 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. ADS Nuclear facility a synthetic view of the reactor vessel and main con-
nected components.
The accelerator driven system (ADS) is a hybrid
reactor, basically consisting of an ion-beam acceler-
ator and of a subcritical fast reactor, immersed in an 2. Seismic isolators
eutectic alloy Pb–Bi (the primary coolant) with an or-
2.1. Basic principles of seismic isolation
ganic synthetic oil as secondary coolant. Its design is
currently developed in Europe as an innovative and
Seismic isolation is one of the most significant en-
inherently safe concept for nuclear high-level waste
gineering developments in recent years: several exam-
management and advanced power generation.
ples of application to bridges, non-nuclear plants and
A sketch of the present reference configuration of
structures already exist in highly seismic areas, like
the ADS facility is given by Fig. 1, while Fig. 2 shows
Japan, California and European countries (like Italy,
Greece and Portugal).
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +39-10-655-8597. Unlike the conventional design approach, which is
E-mail address: (I. Micheli). based upon an increased resistance (strengthening) of

0029-5493/$ – see front matter © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
320 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Fig. 1. ADS facility reference configuration.

the structures, the seismic isolation concept is aimed erally lower in the vertical direction (due to lower soil
at a significant reduction of dynamic loads induced by excitation levels and to a reduced amplification across
the earthquake at the base of the structures themselves. the structure); also, 3D isolation design is complicated
This concept has proven especially reliable for the by the rocking modes of vibration potentially arising
prevention of damage to non-structural members and in the isolated structure.
inner equipment (like typically existing in nuclear The strong reduction in structural accelerations re-
plants). sults in large rigid-body displacements, which are to
Seismic isolation is obtained by means of an inser- be limited by means of dissipating elements, leading to
tion of special devices (the “isolators”) between the significant increases of structural damping (see Fig. 4).
base of the structure and its foundations. Isolators should also have a high self-centering ca-
Isolators must have a high flexibility, so as to move pability, i.e. the capability of carrying back the iso-
the fundamental periods of the main structure well be- lated structure to its initial position after each peak of
yond the range associated to the soil motion ampli- seismic excitation, a safety feature to face potential
fication (see Fig. 3). This can be easily achieved for earthquake aftershocks.
medium or hard soils, whereas more attention is to be Finally, the horizontal stiffness of isolation devices,
paid for applications on soft soils. which is quite low at large excitations, should be, on
As a result, the soil excitation is filtered and ac- the contrary, high enough at low excitations, as typi-
celerations at the base of the structure are drastically cally induced by small earthquakes or winds, in order
reduced. to avoid troublesome vibrations in case of such rela-
In principle, a structure may be isolated in both tively frequent events.
horizontal and vertical directions: at present, however, The basic principles of seismic isolation have been
seismic isolation is usually limited to horizontal direc- successfully integrated in the high damping rubber
tions. The main reason is that seismic loads are gen- bearing (HDRB), a recently developed 2D isolator,
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 321

Fig. 2. ADS nuclear reactor vessel and main components.

322 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Fig. 4. Displacement response spectrum as a function of damping

Fig. 3. Acceleration response spectrum as a function of damping (from Eurocodes EC8 for ground acceleration 0.8 g and medium
(from Eurocodes EC8 for ground acceleration 0.8 g and medium soil).

• the fundamental frequency of the isolated structure

which has been selected for the base isolation of the
is shifted to the low range (most commonly between
ADS Nuclear Island.
0.3 and 1 Hz), where the seismic motion energy is
generally quite low (Marioni, 1998);
2.2. HDRB main features
• the structure’s accelerations and displacements in
case of large earthquakes are further reduced by
The HDRB is a steel-laminated bearing consisting
means of a significant energy dissipation.
of alternating layers of rubber and steel plates bonded
by vulcanisation: it is able to support high vertical The main specific characteristics of the HDRB iso-
loads with negligible deflection, still providing an ef- lator are:
ficient isolation with respect to the horizontal seismic
excitation (Marioni, 1998) (see Fig. 5). • a high damping capability due to a large area of the
This device is very efficient as regards both filtering hysteresis loop (see Fig. 6): the equivalent viscous
and dissipation functions, the main effects of which damping is usually not less than 10% of the critical
are: one;

Fig. 5. Typical high damping rubber bearing. Fig. 6. Typical load/deflection plot of a HDRB.
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 323

• a high horizontal stiffness at low excitations (corre- shear strain may be limited; in type E, the shear
sponding to low shear strain values), so as to min- strain is not limited but the rubber compound must
imise the effects of frequently occurring events (like have high mechanical properties to withstand tensile
wind loads): the wind control region of shear strain stresses;
is 2–5%, as the earthquake region is 50–125%; • a mean lifetime of not less than 60 years.
• the horizontal stiffness, quite low in the isolator
The stiffness and damping characteristics of the
normal operating range, increases again for shear
HDRB isolators depend on the rubber compound
strains exceeding 200%, which is useful to prevent
modulus, bearing plan dimensions, height and number
excessive rigid-body displacements of the isolated
of layers. The allowable maximum vertical and hor-
structure, for extremely strong earthquakes;
izontal displacements depend on the anchor system
• a very high vertical stiffness, in order to withstand
as well.
deadweight and vertical seismic loads, as well as to
Three types of HDRB isolators are currently pro-
prevent rocking movements during seismic excita-
• a highly proven and good self-centring capability
(a) the HDS, fabricated from soft rubber compound;
with a “fail-safe system” as an option, an ultimate
(b) the HDN, fabricated from normal rubber com-
safety feature to withstand vertical loads in case of
failure due to extremely strong earthquakes: this op-
(c) the HDH, fabricated from hard rubber compound.
tion is required, unless it can be shown by quali-
fication tests that isolators are able to support the The isolator horizontal stiffness k is related to the
structure under seismic loads as high as five times rubber G modulus by the equation:
the SSE loads; GA
• the fixation to the structure, not based on friction k= (1)
but on positive connections, like recesses or dowels
(type A) or bolt joints (type E), see Fig. 7: in type where A is the isolator normal cross section and Te
A, the rubber does not undergo tensile stresses but the isolator total net rubber thickness.

Fig. 7. HDRB with fixation by recess (type A) or by bolts (type E).

324 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Fig. 8. (a) HDS isolators G modulus (MPa) vs. shear strain (%); (b) HDS isolators damping ratio vs. shear strain (%).

On the other hand, the equivalent viscous damping shear strains between 20 and 100%, being about 10%
ξ is defined by the relationship: of the critical damping for the HDS and 15% for the
ξ= (2) Tables 1a and 1b give main dimensions (with sym-
(2πkδ2h )
bols from Fig. 7) and main design parameters for
where Ah is the area of the hysteresis loop (see Fig. 6), HDRB isolators of type A with soft rubber compound
k is the isolator horizontal stiffness defined by (1) and (HDS) or hard rubber compound (HDH) (Algasism,
δh is the design horizontal displacement. 1998).
G modulus and damping ratio values are given as
functions of shear strain percent in following Figs. 8 2.3. Isolation design criteria
and 9, respectively for HDS and HDH isolators, the
two types taken into account in the ADS Nuclear Is- The isolating system is to be designed to withstand
land application. static and dynamic loads in order to ensure the stabil-
These characteristics have been drawn from exper- ity of the isolated building for any design load com-
imental tests on reduced-scale isolators. bination.
It is shown that the G modulus, nearly constant for Isolators should be at least located under load con-
shear strains of 100–200% (about 0.4 and 1.4 N/mm2 , centration zones such as main walls. Also, for an easy
for soft and hard compound, respectively) is several in-service inspection, they should be installed on con-
times higher for lower shear strains. Correspondingly, crete pedestals in a dedicated gap between a lower and
the equivalent viscous damping changes very little for an upper basemat, at an adequate mutual distance.

Fig. 9. (a) HDH isolators G modulus (MPa) vs. shear strain (%); (b) HDH isolators damping ratio vs. shear strain (%).
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 325

Table 1a
Dimensions and properties of HDS.A isolators
HDS.A Vertical load Displacement Horizontal stiffness at Te total rubber thickness (mm)
maximum, Fz (kN) maximum, V (mm) 100% strain, Kh (kN/mm)
D H B Te

HDS.A 300 350 112 0.35 300 177 380 80

HDS.A 400 850 146 0.48 400 210 480 104
HDS.A 500 1750 179 0.61 500 243 580 128
HDS.A 600 2000 218 0.72 600 274 680 156
HDS.A 700 3200 252 0.86 700 326 800 180
HDS.A 800 4800 280 0.99 800 374 900 204
HDS.A 900 7700 280 1.25 900 374 1000 204
HDS.A 1000 9200 280 1.50 1000 398 1140 210
HDS.A 1100 12000 280 1.81 1100 398 1240 210
HDS.A 1200 15000 280 2.15 1200 398 1340 210

Moreover, the best-fit isolator layout should min- (c) no tension load is allowed on any isolator of
imise the global torsion mode of the supported above defined type A for any load combination
structure, so as to get nearly uniform horizontal dis- due to dead-weight, earthquake or accidental load
placements. This can be achieved by aligning the (verification against the uplift);
stiffness centre of the isolation system as closely as (d) the overall mass associated to considered modes
possible to the projection of the centre of mass of the in the spectral analysis for horizontal excitation
isolated structure onto the plane of the isolators. should not be less than 90% of the total building
The criteria currently adopted in the seismic base mass.
isolation design are the following (Ingegneria Sismica,
1997; Contract, 1998): 2.4. HDRB major applications
(a) the differential displacement between top and
bottom of isolators due to seismic load, should The HDRB isolators have already been employed
not exceed 3Te , Te being the isolator total rubber in the aseismic design of several important civil and
thickness; industrial buildings and structures. Among the most
(b) the isolator layout eccentricity, i.e., the distance impressive applications to date (Marioni, 1998):
between the global axis of gravity and the isolator
centre of stiffness should be less than 0.05Dmax , (a) the Telecom Centre in Ancona (Italy), see Fig. 10a
Dmax being the maximum horizontal dimension; and b;

Table 1b
Dimensions and properties of HDH.A isolators
HDH.A Vertical load Displacement Horizontal stiffness at Te total rubber thickness (mm)
maximum, Fz (kN) maximum, V (mm) 100% strain, Kh (kN/mm)
D H B Te

HDH.A 300 1000 112 1.24 300 177 380 80

HDH.A 400 1850 146 1.69 400 210 480 104
HDH.A 500 2900 179 2.15 500 243 580 128
HDH.A 600 4200 218 2.54 600 274 680 156
HDH.A 700 5700 252 2.99 700 326 800 180
HDH.A 800 7500 280 3.45 800 374 900 204
HDH.A 900 9500 280 4.37 900 374 1000 204
HDH.A 1000 11000 280 5.24 1000 398 1140 210
HDH.A 1100 14000 280 6.34 1100 398 1240 210
HDH.A 1200 16000 280 7.54 1200 398 1340 210
326 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Fig. 10. (a) Ancona Telecom Centre building; (b) details of the HDRB isolator.
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 327

Fig. 11. (a) Corinth canal bridge under construction; (b) HDRB sketch for Corinth canal bridge.

(b) the Corinth Canal Bridge (Greece), see Fig. 11a (d) the Riace’s Bronzes in Reggio Calabria (Italy), see
and b; Fig. 13a and b;
(c) the chemical plant in Visp (Switzerland), see (e) the bridge over Tagus River in Santarem (Portu-
Fig. 12a and b; gal), see Fig. 14a–c.
328 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Fig. 12. (a) Visp chemical plant: base isolated tank; (b) details of the HDRB.

3. Application to ADS Nuclear Island seismic excitation, which represents the sizing load
with respect to the structural design of the reactor main
3.1. Scope of the application and isolator layout vessel and components.
The general arrangement of the ADS NI buildings
The application of HDRB isolator for the base iso- is schematically shown in Fig. 15.
lation of the ADS Nuclear Island is essentially aimed Fig. 16 gives a section view of the assumed isolator
at the maximum possible reduction of the horizontal layout below the NI upper basemat.
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 329

Fig. 13. (a) The maquette of a Riace’s Bronze on its antiseismic support during tests; (b) details of the segmented HDRB.
330 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Fig. 14. (a) The bridge over Tagus River in Santarem, central part; (b) bridge over Tagus River: piers of an access span; (c) bridge over
Tagus River: disposition of the HDRB on the piers of the main span.

3.2. FEM model well as between the building walls and the upper base-
mat were simulated like rigid links, by means of the
The 3D finite element model of the building struc- node “master-slave” option of ANSYS.
tures was built up by means of ANSYS Computer The isolating devices were represented by springs at
Program (Swanson Analysis System Inc., 1995) (see 267 selected locations at elevation −14.50, below the
Figs. 17–19). The auxiliary buildings were represented upper basemat (see Fig. 20). The springs simulate the
through simplified stick models (by means of beam isolator flexibility in both horizontal directions, while
elements), whereas the reactor building was simulated no flexibility was assumed in the vertical direction.
by shell elements and the reactor containment wall by In a simplified approach, the soil/structure interac-
solid brick elements. The main component, the reactor tion was taken into account by means of six springs,
vessel supported by the containment, was represented representing the global soil stiffness along each con-
by a simplified beam model reproducing the main hor- sidered degree of freedom, as evaluated by means
izontal mode of vibration. The interface connections of the method of “soil impedance” recommended by
between the auxiliary buildings and the basemat, as ASCE Standards (ASCE, 1986). The soil springs free
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 331

Fig. 15. ADS Nuclear Island buildings general arrangement.

332 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

Fig. 17. ADS Nuclear Island ANSYS 3D finite element model.

ends are rigidly connected to a single massive node (a) HDS.A900, with Kh = 1.25 kN/mm.
representing the lower basemat: the connection be- (b) HDH.A800, with Kh = 3.45 kN/mm.
tween lower and upper basemat through the base iso-
lation is simulated by means of master-slave options Kh being the isolator horizontal stiffness at 100%
between the lower basemat node and the bottom ends shear strain (Algasism, 1998).
of isolators. HDS (HDH) isolators are fabricated from a soft
The ANSYS global model of the ADS Nuclear Is- (hard) compound rubber. The choice of HDS.A900
land with seismic base isolation has a total of 14817 and HDH.A800 is related to the need of keeping the
active degrees of freedom. maximum vertical load on each isolator under the spe-
The building seismic response has been investi- cific nominal limit, for each load combination taken
gated through a modal spectrum analysis: the seismic into account. In this case, the combined maximum
excitation, corresponding to the SSE load, was simu- vertical load is given by the dead load plus the ver-
lated by means of the EUR free-field design response tical component of the earthquake load (which is not
spectra (Figs. 21 and 22) scaled to a ZPA acceleration reduced by the 2D devices here investigated).
of 0.25 g along each global direction (EUR, 2001). From the non-isolated building modal analysis,
the maximum vertical acceleration associated to
3.3. Choice of isolators the global vertical mode is about 4.33 m/s2 (in the
most pessimistic case of soft soil, with 97.5% of
Two types of isolators were investigated in the dy- the overall mass answering at the first vertical fre-
namic analysis of ADS building: quency of 2.64 Hz). In this case, with a downward
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 333

Fig. 18. ADS Nuclear Island ANSYS 3D finite element model section along YY.

seismic vertical excitation, the total vertical accel- 3.4. Dynamic response of the isolation system
eration, to be conservatively applied to the whole
building, is thus 14.14 m/s2 . As the overall building The dynamic analysis of the NI buildings with base
mass is 106,150 t, the overall vertical load to be sup- isolation is based on the following procedure:
ported by isolators is about 1500 MN (in the worst (a) calculation by hand of main horizontal isolation
case). frequency through the equation:
With an isolator layout as shown in Fig. 20 and √
a uniform load distribution on the 267 bearings, the (K/M)
fi = (3)
average vertical load on each isolator is then about 2π
5620 kN. M being the total mass of the isolated building and
Isolators referred to as HDS.A900 and HDH.A800 K the global horizontal stiffness of the isolating
have maximum allowed vertical loads of 7700 and system;
7500 kN, respectively (see Tables 1a and 1b). This en- (b) verification of the expected isolation frequency by
sures a minimum 30% margin against extra-loads due means of a finite element model of the building
to the non-uniform distribution and the moderate ec- and evaluation of the mean isolator horizontal dis-
centricity of the isolator overall stiffness with respect placement and associated shear strain and efficient
to the global axis of gravity. stiffness;
For the considered buildings, these isolators should (c) subsequent iterative calculation of isolator dis-
be equipped with the fail-safe system mentioned in placement and stiffness until convergence is
Section 2.2. reached.
334 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

cent shear strains (εs =100δh /Te ) from maximum and

minimum SRSS horizontal displacements (combined
along X and Y) at isolator top faces as issued by AN-
SYS for a 3D earthquake load combination. It is to
be noted that horizontal displacements of an isolated
building are uniform only in the theoretical case of an
isolator stiffness centre on the vertical projection of
the global centre of mass, in which case the torsion
mode is not excited.
In this case, as, due to isolation, nearly 100% of
the building mass participates to a single mode (in
both X and Y-directions), a first-approach value of
the horizontal displacement due to earthquake may
be obtained from the first mode displacements (by
combining X and Y contributions). For the considered
building, only a minor error is brought about by an
interaction between the first mode along Y and the
torsion mode (see Section 4.1).
As the shear strain is lower than the assumed 100%,
an iterative process is needed to achieve convergence
between the assumed stiffness and the resulting shear
strain (linked by the non-linear relationships of Figs. 8
Fig. 19. ADS Nuclear Island ANSYS 3D finite element model— and 9).
structures inside reactor wall.
The actual dynamic behaviour of selected isola-
tors is investigated by a simplified by-hand approach
For both selected types of isolator, the first-approach through the following steps:
theoretical isolation frequency is evaluated by the hor-
izontal stiffness at 100% shear strain: (a) an effective stiffness (Kh ) is drawn from diagrams
(a) for isolators HDS.A900, fi ∼
= 0.28 Hz, as K = giving the stiffness variation of the considered
Kh N ∼= 334 kN/mm and M ∼ = 106150 t; isolators with the shear strain percent (Figs. 8
(b) for isolators HDH.A800, fi ∼
= 0.47 Hz, as K ∼
= and 9);
921 kN/mm. (b) a corrected value of isolation frequency (fi ) is
then evaluated from Kh , by assuming a constant
The actual dynamic response of the isolated build- mass participation to horizontal modes (same “M”
ing is checked by the ANSYS model: modal analysis as in (3)), a good approach in cases like this,
results show that the main horizontal frequencies, as with isolation frequencies far from soil/structure
evaluated for the two considered isolation systems, are interaction frequencies (not less than 2.1 Hz, even
in very good agreement with above theoretical values for very soft soils, according to ASCE evaluation
(see Table 2). methods);
Table 2 reports the average horizontal displacements (c) a corresponding new value of horizontal dis-
at the isolator locations (δh ) and corresponding per- placement (δh ) and of the corresponding average

Table 2
Most significant response parameters for selected isolators
Isolator Te (mm) Kh (kN/mm) fi (Hz) δh (mm) εs (%) Kh (kN/mm)

HDS.A900 204 1.25 0.28/0.30 120.7 59.2 3.45

HDH.A800 204 3.45 0.46/0.49 86.9 42.6 5.40
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 335

Table 3
Actual dynamic behaviour of selected isolators on medium/hard soil
Isolator Kh (kN/mm) fi (Hz) εs (%) Kh∗ (kN/mm) fi∗ (Hz) ε∗s (%)

HDS.A900 3.45 0.47 46.2 ∼4.1 ∼0.51 ∼46

HDH.A800 5.40 0.59 39.4 ∼5.7 ∼0.60 ∼41

shear strain (εs ) may then be estimated from the the adequacy of the isolating system with respect to
equation: the design criteria of Section 2.3, all fulfilled in the
as considered application, as:
δh = 2 (4)
ωi (a) from the calculated maximum displacements, even
in the case of soft compound isolators on soft soil,
where ωi = 2πfi is the isolation circular frequency the maximum shear strain is below 100% (dis-
(rad/s) and as the corresponding spectral acceler- placements less than 3Te );
ation; (b) the eccentricity associated to the assumed isolator
(d) subsequent iterations of above steps provide new layout is about 1.46 m <3.85 m = 0.05Dmax ;
values of stiffness, isolation frequency and shear (c) a simplified approach may be used in this case for
strain for each considered isolator, until a satisfac- the uplift verification, showing that the eccentric-
tory convergence is reached: the final parameters ity of the resultant earthquake load in the worst
(Kh∗ , fi∗ and ε∗s ) are shown in following Table 3. case (for an upward directed vertical component
It is observed that above calculations were per- of seismic excitation) is well inside the basemat el-
formed for a building on medium or hard soil, but lipsis of inertia; in the most pessimistic case (soft
main issues may be extrapolated to any soil stiffness. soil) we have, in fact:
In particular, the main isolation frequency is not af- My
ex = = 238690/56028
fected by the soil, as, for any soil, the global horizon- N
tal stiffness of the isolating devices proves far lower ∼
= 3.346 m < 16 Lx min ∼
= 12.83 m
than the global soil stiffness (ANSALDO, 1999).
The only effect to be taken into account is related Mx
to different free-field spectra associated to different ey = = 71334/56028
soils: it is observed that, at frequencies below 0.6 Hz, ∼
= 1.273 m < 16 Ly min ∼
= 6.17 m,
EUR spectra for soft soils are higher than those for
medium or hard soils, thus inducing higher shear strain where ex (ey ) are the eccentricities along X (Y),
and lower isolator stiffness. This is shown in Table 4, Mx (My ) the rocking moments around X (Y), N is
which summarises main results of the by-hand esti- the minimum vertical downward load on founda-
mation of the actual behaviour of selected isolators on tions, Lxmin = 7 m, the minimum basemat length
soft soil. along X, and Lymin = 37 m, the minimum base-
mat length along Y;
3.5. Verification of the isolated buildings (d) the overall mass associated to the significant
modes retained for the seismic analysis proves
The ANSYS dynamic analysis carried out on the very close to 100% (far more than 90%) of the
3D model of the ADS base-isolated NI has assessed total building mass on isolators.

Table 4
Actual dynamic behaviour of selected isolators on soft soil
Isolator Kh (kN/mm) fi (Hz) εs (%) Kh∗ (kN/mm) fi∗ (Hz) ε∗s (%)

HDS.A900 2.40 0.40 77.6 ∼2.4 ∼0.40 ∼77

HDH.A800 4.20 0.52 73.0 ∼4.3 ∼0.53 ∼70
336 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343
Fig. 20. Considered layout of isolating devices.
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 337

4,0 4,5

3,5 4,0
Spectral acceleration [g]

Spectral acceleration [g]

3,0 3,5

Damping 2 % 3,0 Damping 2 %

Damping 5 % 2,5 Damping 5 %
2,0 Damping 10 %
2,0 Damping 10 %
1,5 Damping 40 % Damping 40 %
0,5 0,5
0,0 0,0
0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0 0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0
Frequency [Hz] Frequency [Hz]

Fig. 21. EUR horizontal design response spectra (envelope between Fig. 22. EUR vertical design response spectra.
XX and YY directions).

the most impressive for foundations on hard soil

4. Analysis of seismic isolation main effects (the only type here considered in the case of seismic
4.1. Considerations on modal results It is observed that all the results presented hereafter
for the cases with base isolation are those obtained
Table 5 summarises main issues of the ADS Nu- with the initial values for the isolator stiffness (see
clear Island modal analysis in the case of non-isolated Table 2), which have been kept in the ANSYS model as
foundations and for both considered types of isolation issuing isolation frequencies in the target range (about
(HDS or HDH isolators on hard soil). 0.3–0.5 Hz). The actual isolation frequency will be
From the point of view of the modal response, the adjusted through an adequate choice (number, type
most significant effect of the base isolation is rep- and location) of isolators after the final issue of the
resented by the significant frequency shift of main ADS Nuclear Island design.
horizontal modes: the frequency associated to a Nu- Lines 1 and 2 of Table 5 give frequency and mass
clear Island on seismic isolators is far lower than the participation of horizontal vessel modes, very close to
corresponding frequency for classical foundations.
This is true for any type soil, even if the effect is

Fig. 23. YY main mode without isolation (6.92 Hz). Fig. 24. YY main mode with isolation (0.46 Hz).
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343
Table 5
Frequency (Hz) and participating mass (t) of main vibration modes
Dominant Soil–structure interaction Seismic isolators
Hard soil Medium soil Soft soil HDS HDH

Frequency Participating Frequency Participating Frequency Participating Frequency Participating Frequency Participating
mass mass mass mass mass
Vessel XX 3.94 2567 3.89 13031 4.07 2485 4.01 0.05 4.01 0.4
Vessel YY 3.95 2843 4.01 2345 4.11 2900 4.00 0.05 4.00 0.4
Global YY 6.92 61302 3.56 65617 1.26 67952 0.277 79293 0.460 79490
Global XX 8.52 66286 4.79 65094 1.63 79581 0.282 104911 0.468 104897
Torsion 10.80 4193 6.59 170 2.31 28 0.296 25927 0.492 25726
Vertical 16.77 39998 7.94 102868 2.64 103457 16.29 57644 16.29 57624
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 339

ADS - FRS Vessel Supports Elevation -0.5 m.

Basemat on Hard soil - X Direction


Accelerations (g)

2,0 7%



0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0
Frequency (Hz)

Fig. 25. XX FRS without isolation.

the expected target value of 4 Hz (to which the vessel increase in the effective mass (about 13,000 t) partic-
stick model was adjusted). It should be pointed out ipating to the first vessel mode along X (at 3.89 Hz),
that vessel frequencies are far from those associated to with respect to the vessel mass (2,700 t).
global building modes for any type of foundation, but Results also show that the first global modes for
for foundations on medium soil. In such case, a signif- non-isolated foundations are mainly rocking modes,
icant dynamic coupling between vessel and connected whereas in the case of seismic isolation they are asso-
reactor building is to be expected, as confirmed by the ciated to horizontal pure translation movements (see

ADS - FRS Vessel Supports Elevation -0.5 m.

Basemat on Hard soil - Y Direction
Accelerations (g)

3,5 1%
2,0 5%
1,5 7%
0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0

Frequency (Hz)

Fig. 26. YY FRS without isolation.

340 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

ADS - FRS Vessel Supports with Isolator HDS A900

Basemat on Hard soil - X Direction



Accelerations (g)

0,30 1%
0,20 7%




0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0

Frequency (Hz)
Fig. 27. XX FRS with HDS.A900.

ADS - FRS Vessel Supports with Isolator HDS A900

Basemat on Hard soil - Y Direction
Accelerations (g)

0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0
Frequency (Hz)

Fig. 28. YY FRS with HDS.A900.

I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 341

ADS - FRS Vessel Supports with Isolator HDH A800

Basemat on Hard soil - X Direction



Accelerations (g)

0,30 1%



0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0
Frequency (Hz)

Fig. 29. XX FRS with HDH.A800.

Figs. 23 and 24). The torsion mode is only signifi- 4.2. Main issues of seismic analysis
cant in the case of basemat on isolators (in this case,
the torsion movement is essentially associated to the The major effect of base isolation on the NI seis-
global mode along Y, due to the higher eccentricity mic response is by far the drastic reduction of floor
along X, see Section 3.5). accelerations.

ADS - FRSVessel Supports withIsolator HDHA800

Basemat on Hard soil - Y Direction
Accelerations (g)

0,15 7%
0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0
Frequency (Hz)

Fig. 30. YY FRS with HDH.A800.

342 I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343

ADS - FRS Vessel Supports ADS - FRS Vessel Supports

Basemat on Hard soil - Horizontal X Direction - 5% Damping Basemat on Hard soil - Horizontal Y Direction - 5% Damping
1,40 1,20

1,20 1,00
Accelerations (g)
Accelerations (g)

1,00 0,80 no isolation

no isolation
HDH A800
0,80 HDH A800 0,60 HDS A900
HDS A900
0,60 0,40

0,40 0,20

0,20 0,00
0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0
0,00 Frequency (Hz)
0,1 1,0 10,0 100,0
Frequency (Hz)
Fig. 32. YY FRS with or without base isolation.

Fig. 31. XX FRS with or without base isolation.

In this case, the most effective choice appears that
of HDS bearings, as resulting in a lower isolation fre-
This effect is shown by Figs. 25–30, which give quency and then in lower peak accelerations, but the
the floor acceleration response spectra calculated at isolation choice should generally be based on the best
the elevation of the main vessel support structure in compromise between the reduction of floor acceler-
the considered cases (non-isolated or isolated founda- ations and the amplification of building rigid-body
tions, taking into account both selected isolators) for displacements.
seismic horizontal excitations and different damping It should be pointed out that this investigation was
ratios. Figures show that, in the case of basemat on based on free-field excitations in accordance with
seismic isolators, the spectral horizontal accelerations EUR requirements (EUR, 2001): the envelope design
are strongly reduced (as expected due the low frequen- spectra used in the analysis are generally conservative
cies observed for main building modes) with respect for the majority of sites. However, for applications on
to corresponding accelerations evaluated in the case buildings on soft soils where more significant long pe-
of non-isolated building. riod excitations are to be taken into account, the design
It is observed that, on hard soil, the reduction of of the base isolation needs particular care, in order to
response spectra peak accelerations at the reactor avoid resonance effects. In such special cases, the main
support level is not far from ten times for HDH isola- isolation frequency should be further lowered and
tors and fifteen times for HDS isolators with respect higher rigid-body displacements taken into account in
to the case without base isolation, as synthetically the design of building interfaces, but a reliable base
highlighted by Figs. 31 and 32. This comparison was isolation could still be obtained by an adequate use of
performed for foundations on hard soil, but similar HDRB bearings. Thus, for instance, if base excitation
conclusions could be drawn for any type of soil. periods of the order of 3 s are to be considered, an
On the other hand, as regards the building response actual isolation frequency of the order of 0.25 Hz (4 s
in terms of displacements, the maximum horizontal period), below the usual range 0.3–0.5 Hz, could prob-
displacements evaluated at the foundation level were ably be required to ensure moderate floor accelerations
about 157 mm for HDS isolators and 105 mm for together with acceptable rigid-body displacements.
HDH isolators (in the case of classical foundations,
corresponding maximum displacements were about
30 mm). 5. Summary and conclusion
As a concluding remark, for applications like the
ADS Nuclear Island, where the main concern is the The present investigation of the dynamic response
limitation of the seismic excitation at the supports of of the ADS Nuclear Island building has confirmed
critical components, a base isolation is to be strongly that an adequate use of aseismic isolating devices un-
recommended. der the main basemat leads to a drastic reduction of
I. Micheli et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 228 (2004) 319–343 343

soil/structure interaction effects under a typical severe NI nuclear island

earthquake load. SRSS square root of the sum of the squares
This is essentially due to the fact that a base isola- SSE safe shutdown earthquake
tion moves the global horizontal modes into the low SSI soil structure interaction
frequency range, thus strongly reducing building ac- ZPA zero period acceleration
celerations and, in particular, floor response spectra at
the reactor support level, which was the main expected
target of the ADS NI seismic isolation. Acknowledgements
The only significant reverse is represented by higher
horizontal displacements induced on the building as Dr. Agostino Marioni, President of ALGA S.p.A.
rigid body motions, but, in the considered application, (Milano, Italy) and Ph.D. Marco Battaini, of ALGA
these displacements are not likely to create any sig- Technical Department, are gratefully acknowledged
nificant problems at existing connections with neigh- for providing the detailed documentation about HDRB
bouring buildings. isolators and their applications.
The design criteria presently recommended for the
local and global verification of the isolation system are References
also fulfilled in this case with large safety margins.
The main outcome of this analysis, an isolated nu- Marioni, A., Jornadas Portuguesas de Engenharia de Estruturas
clear island proves the most adequate choice when Lisboa, LNEC, November 25–28, 1998.
the design of main components is governed by the Algasism HDRB, 20123 Milano, I. Catalogue High Damping
seismic loads, as happens in the ADS Nuclear Island. Rubber Bearing, December 1998.
Swanson Analysis System Inc. ANSYS—Engineering Analysis
This conclusion is true for foundations on any soil, System—Revision 5.2, August 31, 1995.
even if the maximum benefit of a seismic base iso- ASCE 4-86 ASCE Standard, September 1986. Seismic Analysis of
lation is expected for foundations on medium/hard Safety Related Nuclear Structures and Commentary on Standard
soils. A special care should be devoted to the design for Seismic Analysis of Safety Related Nuclear Structures.
of base-isolated buildings on soft soil and long-period ANSALDO Document ADS 2 TCLX 0202 Rev.0, October
1999. Calculation Report—NI Buildings—Seismic and Static
free-field excitations, but, even in this case, a signifi- Analysis.
cant reduction of seismic excitation could be achieved Ingegneria Sismica, Anno XIV, N. 1, Gennaio-aprile 1997. Linee
through an adequate choice of type, number and loca- guida per progettazione, esecuzione e collaudo di strutture
tion of isolators. isolate dal sisma.
Contract B7-6340/95/001169/MAR/C2 between the European
Acronyms Atomic Energy Community and ENEA Extension of the
ADS accelerator driven system Available Design Guidelines for Seismically Isolated Nuclear
EUR European utility requirements Power Plants to 3D Systems Developed in the Russian
Federation and Rolling Ball-Dissipative Layer System, Final
FRS floor response spectra Report July 1998.
HDRB high damping rubber bearing EUR—European Utility Requirements—Revision C, April 2001,
HDS (HDH) soft (hard) compound HDRB vol. 2. Generic Nuclear Island Requirements.