Motivated by many design considerations, several conceptual designs for advanced reactors have proposed that the entire reactor building and a significant portion of the steam generator building will be either partially or completely embedded below grade. For the analysis of seismic events, the soil-structure interaction (SSI) effect and passive earth pressure for these types of deeply embedded structures will have a significant influence on the predicted seismic response. Sponsored by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is carrying out a research program to assess the significance of these proposed design features for advanced reactors, and to evaluate the existing analytical methods to determine their applicability and adequacy in capturing the seismic behavior of the proposed designs. This paper summarizes a literature review performed by BNL to determine the state of knowledge and practice for seismic analyses of deeply embedded and/or buried (DEB) nuclear containment type structures. Included in the paper is BNL’s review of the open literature of existing standards, tests, and practices that have been used in the design and analysis of DEB structures. The paper also provides BNL’s evaluation of available codes and guidelines with respect to seismic design practice of DEB structures. Based on BNL’s review, a discussion is provided to highlight the applicability of the existing technologies for seismic analyses of DEB structures and to identify gaps that may exist in knowledge and potential issues that may require better understanding and further research.

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