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Audit Report: OAS-L-10-01

January 8, 2010

Seismic Design of Nuclear Facilities within the Department of Energy

The Department of Energy (Department) is required by Federal law and Departmental policy to design nuclear facilities to reduce the risk of potential nuclear hazards to workers, the public, and the environment in the event of an earthquake. To this end, the Department has issued Orders, Guides and Technical Standards and adopted national consensus standards and building codes to govern the design of its nuclear facilities and to mitigate the potential impact of earthquakes and othe rnatural phenomena. Specifically, the Department requires designers to use site-specific seismic and geological data in the design of its nuclear facilities. Such data includes historic seismic activity of the region, characterization of subsurface conditions of the soil and rock, calculated ground motion and soil settlement parameters, and the methodologies used in performing such analyses. Some of this information resides in existing site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard assessment reports. Addition seismic and geological data may be available from geologic investigations performed for previously designed facilities.

Topic: National Security & Safety