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Iberdrola Ingeniería will be in charge of updating the seismic hazard assessments for the Spanish nuclear power plants. This is a very important task for the future operability of the company's power plants. It will be collaborating with a number of renowned and highly qualified subcontractors on this project.

In May 2015, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) issued a Complementary Technical Instruction (Spanish acronym: ITC) to the licensees of the Spanish nuclear power plants, informing them of the need to update the seismic hazard assessments for their sites and calling on the owners of the power plants to implement the ITC on a joint basis.

Therefore, each licensee will have to perform fieldwork and a comprehensive seismic hazard analysis, based on a new structured database for the site and according to a plan with activities scheduled in two stages:

  • Stage I: Fieldwork, updating of documentation and inclusion in a database, over a period of approximately 24 months.
  • Stage II: Comprehensive seismic hazard analysis, lasting about 18 months, after the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) has issued a favourable report on the results obtained in Stage I.

This work should be carried out according to Level 3 in the Senior Seismic Hazard Analysis Committee (SSHAC) methodology, which consists of a process where the existing information is analysed by experts:

  • Recompiling new information from fieldwork (covering in particular diameters of 300, 50 and 25 km around nuclear power plants)
  • Deciding on the importance of the various factors that contribute towards seismic risk
  • Creating a GIS geo-referenced database
  • Preparing a scale model of the terrain to ascertain the probabilities, features and magnitudes of possible seismic movements
  • Making the final transfer to the base of the foundations of the nuclear plant buildings.

The end product will be the 'consensual' updating by the experts of the seismic hazard curves for the facilities. These curves were decisive in designing and licensing the plants.

The owners of the power plants have decided to implement this ITC on a joint basis under the coordination of the Spanish Electricity Sector Association. Iberdrola Ingeniería was awarded the contract for this work in collaboration with a number of renowned and highly qualified subcontractors, such as Coppersmith Consulting Inc. (USA), IDOM, the Spanish Geological and Mining Institute and EPTISA. The project is expected to require about 35,000 hours of work and the participation of between 15 and 25 experts.

The engineering and construction firm belonging to the IBERDROLA Group and the team proposed for the project will ensure that the goals are achieved. They will also guarantee the participation of Spanish companies, organisations and experts to the greatest possible extent. This will enable the transfer of knowledge and experience from companies such as Coppersmith Consulting (leader in SSHAC projects in the U.S.), as well as from other international collaborators and experts to the Spanish technical and scientific community. Organising the project in this way will ensure that IBERDROLA has first-hand knowledge of an issue that is highly relevant to the future operability of its power plants.