AbstractThe multifarious calamities upon nuclear containment structures (NCS) and insufficient reliability-based factors inspired the current study for the investigation of hard missile impact. Available codes for design and construction of NCS suggest a load factor of 1.0 and basic information for the missile impact scenarios. However, the current study proposes novel reliability-based load and resistance factors for NCS subjected to a hard missile impact. The performance-based probabilistic energy capacity and demand models have been used for the code calibration process. These models were based on three performance levels associated with four levels of damage. The levels were chosen based on local damage due to its rigidity from insignificant penetration to complete perforation of the missile. This study also developed hazard curves for various distributions of missile mass and velocity. The total probability of failure of NCS was calculated based on a realistic range of material and geometrical variables and globally existing cruise missiles, wind-borne missiles, pressure pipes, iron rods, and others. The current investigation considers all the inherent uncertainties of target and missile. This study circumvents the limitations and develops performance-based load and resistance factors based on probabilistic models. The developed load and resistance factors for codal provisions are tied in turn to the different performance levels of the NCS. These factors can be used for the design of NCS, bunkers, silos, storage tanks, slabs, and others without performing exhaustive analysis and/or experiments.