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UKFB Passive Flood Defence System - tested & proven flood protection in earthquake situations


UKFB are working with EDF in France as part of a six-year protection project totalling 10 billion euros to protect its nuclear facilities.

As part of this the passive flood defence system has now undergone and passed extensive seismic testing proving that it will do the job it is designed for even after an earthquake. The aim is to prevent any flooding, that might occur as a result of an earthquake, from entering contained parts of the nuclear plants. 

EDF-SA appointed UKFB to carry out extensive seismic testing of the passive flood defence system to ensure its adequacy for installation to nuclear power station sites across France. In response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 and nuclear incident at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, EDF is now committed to ensuring the safety of their facilities and have been given six years by nuclear regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire to complete approximately 10 billion euros ($13 billion) of measures to enhance protection. EDF are now more than ever committed to ensuring the safety and protection of their critical infrastructure.

Testing commenced in July at Bristol Universities’ Earthquake Engineering Research Centre (EERC).  The sequence used their 15 tonne, six axis, Earthquake Simulator (ES) contained within the Bristol Laboratories for Advanced Dynamic Engineering (BLADE). 

The principle aims of the test were to check that a specimen passive flood defence system would perform its required function after an S1 and S2 category earthquake. During the test the passive flood defence system was subjected to a vibratory movement that simulates, with a margin, the movement induced by such earthquakes.

For the purpose of testing we used a passive flood defence system steel basin, with a 2 metre wide by 1 metre high floating wall. An aluminium bund was added to the passive flood defence system for demonstrating that the system was fully functional after an earthquake, retaining flood water as designed.

The passive flood defence system was subjected to a 3 axis seismic test programme with uni-axial sinusoidal input motions from 0Hz to 55Hz to determine the natural frequencies. The passive flood defence system was then put through five S1, and one S2 severity seismic shakes. The results showed that the passive flood defence system is essentially rigid at frequencies within the normal seismic test range of 0-35Hz.

The capability of the passive flood defence system to perform under these conditions with no damage or degradation is testament to the design and durability of this innovation. With this level of safety added to this already high performance product, it now provides those with assets in at risk areas, the confidence that they have an unprecedented level of flood protection in an earthquake situation.

The test programme was conducted in accordance with the requirements of EDF as contained within Specification BTR 91C11200 and following the Bristol Earthquake and Engineering Laboratory Ltd (BEELAB) Test Method Statement (UKF1301/TMS). Representatives of both EDF and the University of Bristol witnessed and verified the tests.

This applies only to the passive flood defence system as manufactured by UK Flood Barriers, in the UK.

For full details of the testing and results please contact us.

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