Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 73–96 | Cite as

Sensitivity of surface hazard to different factors and site response analysis approaches: a case study for a soft rock site

  • A. Lessi-CheimariouEmail author
  • I. J. Tromans
  • E. Rathje
  • C. Robertson
Case Study Reports


Near-surface effects for a soft rock site (average shear-wave velocity of the top 30 m, Vs30 ≈ 800 m/s) for a proposed nuclear power station in the UK are integrated into the “bedrock” results of a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) by application of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) Approach 3 and employing a partially non-ergodic PSHA. The sensitivity of the surface hazard to the site response analysis method is assessed, employing both random vibration theory (RVT) and time series (TS) approaches. The effects of different assumptions relating to strong-motion duration, selection of target frequency in the surface uniform hazard spectrum (UHS) and the incorporation of the variability of site properties through Monte Carlo simulations are also quantified. The results show that for the examined stiff site, with response concentrated at high frequencies, the use of RVT site response analysis does not introduce a systematic bias in the low frequency ground motion predictions and the duration used in the definition of the input ground motions is demonstrated to have a secondary effect on the site response. The incorporation of the variability of site properties and the selection of the target frequencies in the convolution are shown to be important in the derivation of the uniform hazard spectrum.


Site response analysis Random vibration theory Time series Nuclear design 



The authors would like to thank the client, EDF NNB GenCo for their agreement to publish this paper. The support and contributions from Colin Baird and Ryan Atkins are particularly acknowledged. We thank the Peer-Review Team, Dr Hilmar Bungum and Dr Martin Köller for their constructive, challenging and insightful comments on all aspects of the work undertaken. The work presented in the current paper benefits from the contributions of Prof. Pierre-Yves Bard and Dr-Ing Philippe Renault, in their roles as Subject Experts. We extend our thanks to fellow Technical Delivery Team members, Dr Fleur Strasser, Dr John Douglas and Dr Guillermo Aldama-Bustos, who brought valuable insights relating to the hazard calculations. Dr Fleur Strasser also carried out detailed checks of the convolution calculations. We are very grateful for the tireless support from our Project Management Team, Guy Green and Liz Rivers. Finally, we would also like to thank Prof. James Kaklamanos and an anonymous reviewer for improving this paper with their constructive and interesting comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jacobs (Former CH2M)LondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.NNB GenCoBristolUK

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