OQ Engine used in a nuclear SHA project
It is well acknowledged that some facilities, such as the nuclear ones, require particular caution when it comes to the calculation of levels of ground motion to be used for design and risk assessment. In other words, the calculation process for an area selected to host nuclear facilities should comply with some specific requirements in terms of Quality Assurance, along the same line of what is achieved in the model building process through the application of the procedure proposed by the SSHAC (Senior Seismic Hazard Analysis Committee that developed SSHAC guidelines which can be used in the development of PSHA input models or in PSHA studies).
Taking as a case study the Thyspunt site in South Africa, where Eskom is planning to build some nuclear power plants, a group of scientists including two members of the GEM hazard team proposed a procedure based on the use of the OpenQuake Engine guaranteeing that minimum quality levels in the calculation of hazard are met. They carried out a study to verify the original logic tree calculations and to compare them against the ones obtained with a different software and an independent implementation.
After a wide range of tests, the OQ Engine was able to effectively mimic calculations performed by the previous software proving the reproducibility of original calculations and the consistency between its results and the ones computed with the initial software. The result, besides being an international validation of the OpenQuake-engine, represents an interesting contribution in the field of nuclear applications. It demonstrates quality and effectiveness of the testing process adopted by the development team in the implementation of hazard models as well as in the implementation of the software itself.