Earthquake probability at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, Japan, assessed using bandwidth optimization
On July 16, 2007, a strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake occurred on Japan's west coast, rocking the nearby Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power station on Earth. Shaking during this event produced ground accelerations of ~680 gal, exceeding the plant seismic design specification of 273 gal. This occurrence renews concerns regarding seismic hazards at nuclear facilities located in regions with persistent earthquake activity. Seismic hazard assessments depend upon an understanding of the spatial distribution of earthquakes to effectively assess future earthquake hazards. Earthquake spatial density is best estimated using kernel density functions based on the locations of past seismic events. Two longstanding problems encountered when using kernel density estimation are the selection of an optimal smoothing bandwidth and the quantification of the uncertainty inherent in these estimates. Currently, kernel bandwidths are often selected subjectively and the uncertainty in spatial density estimation is not calculated. As a result, hazards with potentially large consequences for society are poorly estimated. We solve these two problems by employing an optimal bandwidth selector algorithm to objectively identify an appropriately sized kernel bandwidth based on earthquake locations from catalog databases and by assessing uncertainty in the spatial density estimate using a modified smoothed bootstrap technique. After applying these methods to the Kashiwazaki Kariwa site, the calculated probability of one or more Mw 6-7 earthquakes within 10 km of the site during a 40 yr facility lifetime is between 0.005 and 0.02 with 95 percent confidence. This result is made more robust by calculating similar probabilities using alternative databases of earthquake locations and magnitudes. The objectivity and quantitative robustness of these techniques make them extremely beneficial for seismic hazard assessment.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 7215 Earthquake source observations (1240);
- 7230 Seismicity and tectonics (1207;