About Us

Dr. Kevin Coppersmith is the President of Coppersmith Consulting, Inc. He has more than 30 years of consulting experience, with primary emphasis in probabilistic hazard analyses for design and review of critical facilities within regulated environments. Dr. Coppersmith has pioneered approaches to characterizing earth sciences data, and their associated uncertainties, for probabilistic seismic, flooding, and volcanic hazard analyses for a range of critical facility sites including nuclear power plant sites, high level waste repositories, dams, offshore platforms, pipelines, and bridges. His consulting experience has focused on the characterization of hazard sources for probabilistic analysis, including quantification of uncertainties in earth sciences data.

Dr. Coppersmith was a member of the Senior Seismic Hazard Analysis Committee (SSHAC), which provided methodology guidance in NUREG/CR-6372 on probabilistic seismic hazard analysis to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Department of Energy (DOE), and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  As a co-principal investigator, he recently completed a study for the NRC on reviewing lessons learned from the application of SSHAC Study Level 3 and 4 methodologies over the past ten years. This was followed by collaborative work with NRC Research staff to develop NUREG-2117, which provides detailed implementation guidance for SSHAC Level 3 and 4 studies.  That document provides guidance for conducting probabilistic hazard studies for critical facilities in the U.S. and internationally. As an expert practitioner of SSHAC processes, Dr. Coppersmith recently co-led a workshop with NRC and FERC staff devoted to methods for implementing SSHAC processes in probabilistic flood hazard analysis.

Dr. Coppersmith has extensive experience in leading SSHAC Level 3 and 4 studies for nuclear facilities.  He served as seismic source characterization (SSC) Technical Facilitator/Integrator (TFI) for SSHAC Level 4 seismic hazard studies at the Yucca Mountain high level waste repository, and for the PEGASOS SSHAC Level 4 PSHA and the subsequent PEGASOS Refinement Project for four nuclear power plants in Switzerland.  He was also the TFI for the Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Analysis conducted for Yucca Mountain in 1996 as well as for the update to that study completed in 2008, which was also conducted using SSHAC Level 4 processes.  He was the Technical Integrator (TI) Lead for the SSHAC Level 3 Central and Eastern United States Seismic Source Characterization for Nuclear Facilities project (NUREG-2115), sponsored under a unique public-private partnership by EPRI, NRC, and DOE.  He was the SSC TI Lead for SSHAC Level 3 seismic hazard studies for licensing of a nuclear power plant at Thyspunt, South Africa, and served on the Participatory Peer Review Panel (PPRP) for BC Hydro’s SSHAC Level 3 Seismic Hazard Analysis for 41 sites in the service area in British Columbia, Canada.  Under dual sponsorship by the DOE and Energy Northwest, the Hanford SSHAC Level 3 PSHA was completed for which Dr. Coppersmith served as SSC TI Lead as well as the Project Technical Integrator. In addition, Dr. Coppersmith currently serves as the Chair of the PPRP for the SSHAC Level 3 SSC Project for the Diablo Canyon power plant.

Dr. Coppersmith has served as a technical advisor for a number of utilities and sponsors of hazard studies, including Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, California Department of Transportation, California High-Speed Train Project, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Mr. Ryan Coppersmith is a Senior Project Geologist with Coppersmith Consulting Inc. His experience is in structural geology specializing in bedrock mapping, seismic hazard analysis, and seismic source characterization. He has worked on several nuclear siting projects and PSHA projects in the United States and internationally. He recently completed a SSHAC Level 3 PSHA as a member of the Seismic Source Characterization Technical Integration team for the Thyspunt, South Africa PSHA and is in the same role in the ongoing SSHAC Level 3 PSHA study for the Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state, USA.

Mr Coppersmith’s consulting experience includes several PSHA studies and participation as an SSC TI team member in two SSHAC Level 3 studies for nuclear facilities. He has been involved in the completion of responses to Requests for Additional Information (RAIs) from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the Harris, Levy, and DTE Fermi nuclear power plants’ Combined Operating License (COL) applications. He has also been involved in several field mapping efforts for nuclear sites to characterize both regional and site specific structures. He has worked on several projects that included the acquirement and interpretation of ground-based LiDAR to assist in geologic interpretation where conventional mapping methods were not possible. Examples of this work include mapping growth strata in the Catalan Coastal Range of Spain, characterizing bedrock faults in quarry walls, and documenting an interpreted trench wall in quaternary deposits along the Kango fault in South Africa. He has experience in mapping geomorphic surfaces, paleoseismic trenches, and bedrock structures to characterize faults as well as mapping fluvial and marine terraces to assess regional uplift rates. Mr Coppersmith has expertise in the use of the geologic data in building SSC models and quantifying the associated uncertainties.  Other major geologic studies carried out in support of PSHAs for nuclear facilities include reviewing and documenting geologic literature, compiling project and GIS databases, interpreting site geological data, and characterizing seismic sources. As part of a probabilistic fault displacement hazard analysis (PFDHA) for oil-production facilities within the Caspian Sea, Mr Coppersmith characterized submarine faults using seismic reflection data. As part of detailed site-specific studies, he has experience in collecting and interpreting ground-based LiDAR data to interpret geologic structures and to map fault zone exposures.

He is proficient in computer software such as ArcGIS, Adobe Illustrator, SMT Kingdom Suite, Microsoft, Matlab, GoCad and Cyclone (3D software). His academic research focused on the structural analysis of outcrop-scale faulting along sea-cliff exposure near the San Simeon fault zone in California. This study resulted in a revised understanding of the history of the fault zone and of the way strike-slip systems evolve over time. Mr Coppersmith received his BS in geology from Washington & Lee University in 2006 and his MS from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008.