Tsunami assessment for risk management at nuclear power facilities in Japan

Ken Yanagisawa, Fumihiko Imamura, Tsutomu Sakakiyama, Tadashi Annaka, Tomoyoshi Takeda, Nobuo Shuto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The present study focuses on evaluation of the maximum and minimum water levels caused by tsunamis as risk factors for operation and management at nuclear power facilities along the coastal area of Japan. Tsunamis generated by submarine earthquakes are examined, basing literature reviews and databases of information on historical tsunami events and run-up heights. For simulation of water level along the coast, a numerical calculation system should be designed with computational regions covering a particular site. Also the calculation system should be verified by comparison of historical and calculated tsunami heights. At the beginning of the tsunami assessment, the standard faults, their locations, mechanisms and maximum magnitudes should be carefully estimated by considering historical earthquake-induced tsunamis and seismo-tectonics at each area. Secondly, the range of errors in the model parameters should be considered since earthquakes and tsunamis are natural phenomena that involve natural variability as well as errors in estimating parameters. For these reasons, uncertainty-induced errors should be taken into account in the process of tsunami assessment with parametric study of the tsunami source model. The element tsunamis calculated by the standard fault models with the errors would be given for the design. Then, the design tsunami can be selected among the element tsunamis with the most significant impact, maximum and minimum water levels, on the site, bearing in mind the possible errors in the numerical calculation system. Finally, the design tsunami is verified by comparison with the run-up heights of historical tsunamis, ensuring that the design tsunami is selected as the highest of all historical and possible future tsunamis at the site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-576
Number of pages12
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Mar


  • Design tsunami
  • Nuclear power facility
  • Standard fault model
  • Tsunami assessment


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