Evaluation of the Hualien Quarter Scale Model Seismic Experiment:Geotechnical Site Characterization Review (NUREG/CR-6584, Volume 2)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: October 2000
Date Published: March 2001

Prepared by:
C. A. Miller, C. J. Costantinoa
I. A. Pires, C. J. Higginsb

aCity College of New York, Principal Contractor
Earthquake Research Center
Department of Civil Engineering
New York, NY 10031

bApplied Research Associates, Inc., Subcontractor
4300 San Mateo Boulevard, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87110

H. L. Graves, NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Engineering Technology
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code W6769

Availability Notice


The primary objective of the Hualien Soil-Structure Interaction Experiment, also known as the Hualien Large Scale Seismic Test (LSST), is to obtain seismic soil-structure interaction (SSI) data for stiff soil site conditions that might resemble those encountered at prototypical nuclear power plant sites. An international consortium was established to carry out the Hualien LSST project. The consortium consisted of: the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) of Japan, the French Commissariat A L'Energie Atomique (CEA), the Electricite de France (EdF) and Framatome.

ARA acted as a subcontractor to the City College of New York (CCNY) and CCNY was the primary technical contractor for the NRC for the Hualien SSI Experiment. The scope of work done by ARA for the Hualien SSI experiment was, primarily, to assist CCNY and the NRC with: site characterization issues, the development of site models and the review of the instrumentation plan for the project. In this report, a review and assessment of the geotechnical site characterization is presented. The report consists of a detailed description of the methods used and of the results obtained as well as an assessment of those results and of the recommended soil parameters. This review is followed by analysis of the forced vibration test data and selected recorded earthquake loading data for further interpretation and evaluation of site conditions and soil parameters to be used in analytical calculations. The report concludes with a summary of the major findings and uncertainties encountered in the site characterization and their implications on the interpretation of the results of the experiment and on soil-structure interaction analysis procedures, as well as recommendations for further studies related to the Hualien SSI experiment.

Of special significance is the identification of anisotropic in-situ conditions for the stiff gravelly soils beneath the foundation of the model. For this soil, the propagation speed of the shear waves varies with the horizontal direction considered. This condition was not expected during the site characterization efforts and only was identified after analysis and interpretation of the forced vibration tests of the model performed prior to and following the placement and compaction of the backfill.

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