Low velocity surface layers can significantly increase ground accelerations during earthquakes. When saturated sandy sediments are present, because of pore pressure increase, decrease of soil strength or even liquefaction can occur. Some volume change follows the dissipation of excess pore pressure after the earthquake resulting surface settlements. To determine the liquefaction probability and post-liquefaction settlement is very important for critical facilities e.g. for the site of Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Hungary. Pore pressure increase and so the liquefaction and surface settlements depend on the characteristics of seismic loading and soil parameters. To quantify the extent of these phenomena is rather difficult. Uncertainties arise both from the probabilistic nature of the earthquake loading and from the simplifications of soil models as well. In the paper, the most important semi-empirical and dynamical effective stress methods for liquefaction and post-liquefaction settlement assessment are summarized. Most significant contributors to the uncertainties are highlighted, and particular examples through the investigation of Paks NPP site are given. Finally, a probabilistic procedure is proposed where the uncertainties will be taken into account by applying a logic tree methodology. At the same time, the uncertainties are reduced by the use of site-specific UHRS and stress reduction factors.
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