Standard-compliant earthquake qualification of plant parts and mechanical as well as electrical components – Earthquake verification through earthquake simulation

The German mechanical and plant engineering industry sells its products worldwide, increasingly also in seismically active areas. Depending on the product and its classification, and on the (country-specific) regulations, at a minimum the stability of the anchorage of a component under seismic action must be verified. Further requirements may extend to integrity (leak tightness) and functionality (especially for electrical components) during and after the earthquake event.

Earthquake simulation: Numerical (earthquake calculation) or experimental (earthquake test)

Which method is used for verification is determined by numerous factors. Depending on the regulations and requirements, the proof of functionality can be provided, for example numerically using an FE model (earthquake calculation) and/or experimentally by means of a vibration test, as is often required. In the following overview you will find our range of services for mechanical and electrical components – we provide you with advice to develop the optimal verification concept for your specific application in close cooperation.

We are your experienced partner for all questions regarding earthquake requirements as well as for the earthquake design of plant parts and components:

Which mechanical components (e.g., piping, tanks, coolers, LNG-, hydrogen tanks/lines) must be considered as part of the earthquake design depends, in particular, on the overall protection goal for the machine or plant.

Depending on the requirements, the verification can be done by calculation (quasi-static equivalent method, response spectrum method, time history method), experimental methods (earthquake test) and/or alternative methods (similarity, plausibility). Internationally, the ASCE/SEI 7 set of rules is frequently used for mechanical components; for detailed verifications, there are additional component-specific sets of rules.

In this field we’d like to highlight the following services we offer:

  • Consulting for the determination of input data, the adaptation of designs as well as for the development of a verification concept
  • Consulting with regard to internationally recognized standards
  • Design of components for the load case earthquake
  • Support in the introduction of a uniform procedure for you and your suppliers
  • Support in clarifying customer questions on the subject of earthquakes and in representing you vis-à-vis authorities and TÜV testing bodies

The use of electrical components (e.g. switch cabinets, electric motors, generators, transformers, gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), gas-insulated piping, valves, pumps, ...) may be subject to compliance with country-specific earthquake requirements, both at home and abroad. If this is the case, the seismic safety of the respective components has to be verified according to the local regulations.

In this field we’d like to highlight the following services we offer:

  • Advice on the determination of earthquake input data
  • Verification by calculation (usually FE calculation: linear/non-linear, quasi-static/dynamic with time-history method or RSMA calculation)
  • Verification by vibration test (uni- or multi-axial, electric or hydraulic vibration table)
    • Test planning, test specification, test monitoring, test evaluation
  • If the boundary conditions allow it: Verification by plausibility/similarity considerations (lowest time and cost expenditure)
  • Advice on design optimization
  • Representation vis-à-vis inspectors and authorities
  • Creation of customized software for processing/analysis of (earthquake) signals: Time histories, response spectra

We consider project-specific requirements resulting from (inter)national conventional and nuclear regulations and earthquake specifications:

  • KTA 2201.4 – Design of NPPs against Seismic Events, Part 4: Plant Components
  • RCC-E – Design and Construction Rules for Electrical Equipment of Nuclear Islands
  • IEEE 344 – IEEE Standard for Seismic Qualification of Equipment for Nuclear Power Generating Stations
  • IEC 68-3-3 – Environmental testing – Seismic test methods for equipment, guidance document
  • IEC 980 – Recommended practices for seismic qualification of electrical equipment of the safety system for nuclear generating stations
  • IEC 61225:2020-11 – NPP – Instrumentation, control and electrical power systems – Requirements for static uninterruptible DC and AC power supply systems
  • IEEE 693 – IEEE Recommended Practice for Seismic Design of Substations
  • IEC 62271-207 High-voltage switchgear and controlgear – Part 207: Seismic qualification for gas-insulated switchgear assemblies for rated voltages above 52 kV
  • IEC 62271-210 High-voltage switchgear and controlgear – Part 210: Seismic qualification for metal enclosed and solid-insulation enclosed switchgear and controlgear assemblies for rated voltages above 1 kV and up to and including 52 kV
  • ASCE 7 – Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures
  • ICC-ES AC 156 – Acceptance Criteria for seismic certification by shake-table testing of non-structural components
  • DIN EN 1998 (EC 8) – Design of structures against earthquakes, part 1-6.

Please contact me personally


I will be happy to advise you on questions relating to the standard-compliant seismic design and qualification of mechanical and electrical components.

Dr.-Ing. Marcus Ries

+49 931 49708-370
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Mechanical Engineering, TU Darmstadt

Acadamic Degree

Dipl.-Ing. / Dr.-Ing