(updated on Dec. 20031)


1.1.  General Overview

The People's Republic of China (China) is the world's most populous country and the second largest energy consumer (after the United States). China has a population of about 1.3 billion people (Table1). Its land area is 9,561,000 square kilometres. China is rich in coal and water resources, which are unevenly distributed throughout the country. Coal deposits are predominant in the north and north-western regions, while water resources are mainly in the south-western region. In contrast, Southeast China is densely populated and has extensively developed industry and agriculture, but is deficient in coal and hydro resources.

Transportation of vast amounts of coal accounts for 48% of the railway capacity and 25% of the highway capacity. This adds to a high price of coal. Environmental pollution from burning coal has been a serious problem. Improvement of China's energy infrastructure includes the development of nuclear power. During the last 40 years, a relatively complete nuclear fuel cycle system has been built in China.

On China's mainland, there were five nuclear power plants and 7 units in operation by the end of 2002, with a capacity of 4.5 GW(e): two PWR NPPs and one PHWR NPP, 1.6 GW(e) at Qinshan, Zhejiang Province and two PWR NPPs, 2.9 GW(e) at Daya Bay and Lingao, Guangdong Province. China's nuclear electricity production was 26 TW×h in 2002.

Tests show there were no domestic nuclear radiation or environmental pollution accidents in 2002. China's nuclear fuel industry is also able to provide fuel for all domestic nuclear power plants. China has created a continuous flow of safe, clean and economic nuclear energy.

Especially, the formal commercial operation of unit 1 of Qinshan nuclear power phase 2 indicates that China has already possessed full ability in designing, constructing, managing and operating nuclear power plants of 650 MW PWR for commercial purposes. It is an indication to show that China has gone up a new stage in the domestication of nuclear power equipment and facilities, thereby laying a solid foundation for China to design and construct the nuclear power plant with a capacity of a million kilowatts by itself.

China's nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 8.7 GW by 2005.























Population (millions)



1 135.2

1 262.6

1 304.5

1 311.8


Population density (inhabitants/km2)








Urban population (% of total)








Area(1000 km2)








 Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

In 2002, China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 10,239.8 billion RMB Yuan, a 8% increase from 2001, or 1237 billion US$ (according to the exchange rate of 1US$=8.27 Yuan) with the per capita GDP of 963 US$. The annual growth rate of GDP reached 8.3% during the 9th Five-Year Plan Period (1996-2000). Total industrial GDP increased to 5,298.2 billion RMB Yuan with a growth rate of 9.9 % over the previous year. Agricultural sector grew to 1,488.3 billion RMB Yuan with a growth rate of 2.9 % over previous year. Service sector grew to 3,453.3 billion RMB Yuan with 7.3%. In 2002, the proportions of agriculture, industry and services were 14%, 52% and 34% of total GDP, respectively. Table 2 shows the historical Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data.























GDP (millions of current US$)

91 506.2

188 241.7

354 644.4

1 198 480.0

2 243 853.0

2 668 071.0


GDP (millions of constant 2000 US$)

100 072.3

182 941.9

444 600.5

1 198 480.0

1 889 930.0

2 092 153.0


GDP per capita (current US$)





1 720.1

2 033.9


Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

China has abundant coal and hydro resources. Total coal deposits are estimated to be 5,059 billion metric tons, and hydroelectricity is about 380,000 MW. Table 3 shows the reserves of all energy sources in the country.


  Estimated energy reserves in (*) (Solid and Liquid in million tons, Uranium in metric tons, Gas in billion cubic metres, Hydro in TWhr per year)
  Solid (1) Liquid (2) Gas (3) Uranium (4) Hydro (5)
Amount 114,500 3,300,000 1,676 35,060 1,920,000

(*) Sources: 20th WEC Survey of Energy Resources, 2004 and Uranium 2005: Resources, Production and Demand ("Red Book")
(1) Coal including Lignite: proved recoverable reserves, the tonnage within the proved amount in place that can be recovered in the future under present and expected local economic conditions with existing available technology
(2) Crude oil and natural gas liquids (Oil Shale, Natural Bitumen and Extra-Heavy Oil are not included): proved recoverable reserves, the quantity within the proved amount in place that can be recovered in the future under present and expected local economic conditions with existing available technology
(3) Natural gas: proved recoverable reserves, the volume within the proved amount in place that can be recovered in the future under present and expected local economic conditions with existing available technology
(4) Reasonably Assured Resources (RAR) under < USD 130/kgU
(5) Hydropower: technically exploitable capability, the amount of the gross theoretical capability that can be exploited within the limits of current technology
Source: IAEA Energy and Economic Data Base and Country Information.

Production and consumption of coal, its dominant fuel, is the highest in the world. China was the world's third largest consumer of petroleum products in 2002, following the United States and Japan. Rising oil demand and imports have made China a significant factor in world oil markets.

In 2002, the total energy production was 40.97 Exajoule. The solids production accounted for 70.3% of total energy production while the production of liquids, gases and primary electricity accounted respectively for 17.1%, 3.2% and 9.5% of total energy production.

In 2002, the total energy consumption amounted to 43.6 Exajoule. The rates of solids, liquids, gases and primary electricity in energy consumption were 65.7%, 23.3%, 2.7% and 8.3%, respectively. Statistical energy data are given in Table 4. The per capita energy consumption in 2002 was 34 GJ.

1.2.  Energy Policy

China's energy policy adheres to the following principles:


(Energy values are in Exajoule exept where indicated)
Annual Average
Growth Rate (%)
Total Energy Requirements 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 2004 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2004
Total 10.08 18.67 29.17 40.02 50.06 58.57 3.89 9.99
Solids 7.36 12.67 21.33 26.48 33.74 39.78 3.76 10.71
Liquids 1.29 3.73 4.82 9.34 11.12 13.46 4.70 9.56
Gases 0.11 0.56 0.60 1.22 1.63 1.45 3.99 4.58
Hydro 0.07 0.21 0.46 0.80 1.02 1.26 6.93 12.05
Nuclear 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.17 0.45 0.52 .. 31.47
Other Renewables and Waste 1.24 1.51 1.97 2.01 2.10 2.11 1.43 1.17
Final Energy Consumption 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 2004 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2004
Total 0.06 0.27 6.22 25.04 27.83 31.60 25.39 5.99
Solids 0.06 0.06 4.71 12.79 12.58 14.16 31.12 2.58
Liquids .. .. 0.85 6.42 7.66 8.27 .. 6.55
Gases .. 0.02 0.23 1.68 2.53 2.49 24.92 10.43
Electricity .. 0.20 0.43 4.16 5.06 6.68 16.53 12.59
Other .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Net Energy Balance (Export-Import) 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 2004 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2004
Total -0.046 -0.790 -1.282 1.687 1.980 4.426 ? 27.26
Solids -0.055 -0.082 -0.340 -1.520 -2.060 -1.694 15.74 2.75
Liquids 0.009 -0.710 -0.950 3.330 4.125 6.233 ? 16.96
Gases .. .. .. -0.093 -0.058 -0.091 .. -0.66
Other Renewables and Waste 0.000 0.001 0.007 -0.030 -0.028 -0.023 ? -6.66
Source: IAEA Energy and Economic Data Base and Country Information.

1.3.  The Electricity System

The current power developing policy of the Chinese government is to deepen the reform in the power system and to implement the separation of power generating plants and transmission grids. Power plants are to bid for power supply contracts through an auction system to foster a fairly competitive market. Meanwhile, more attentions are paid to strengthen grid construction, to actively development of hydroelectric power, to build large coal-fired units with high performance parameters and to moderately develop nuclear power. All small and inefficient coal units will be closed by the end of 2005.

1.3.1.  Structure of the Electricity Sector

By the end of 2002, China has set up 6 major trans-provincial and regional networks and 6 independent provincial networks in the mainland for distribution of the generated electricity by its power plants (which have a total capacity of about 357 GW). Among these, the largest one is the East-China Power network, which connects 62.5 GW of installed capacity. The next two largest networks are the Southern four Provinces (Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan) Interlined Power network and the Central China Power network with installed capacities of 57.3 GW and 50.5 GW, respectively. The installed capacities of the North-China Power network and the Northeast China Power network are 49.7 GW and 39.9 GW. The Northwest China Power network's installed capacity is 20.8 GW.

In addition, the Shandong Provincial Power network developed quite rapidly and reached an installed capacity of 24.3 GW at the end of 2002. The other independent provincial networks are Sichuan-Chongqing power network (19.8GW), Fujian power network (13.4 GW), Hanan power network (1.8 GW), Xingjiang power network (3 GW) and Xizang power network (0.2 GW).

All these power networks are state-owned. The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is drawing up the nation-wide power net linking programme.

1.3.2.  Decision Making Process

National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is responsible for planning, budgeting and final accounting of economic construction nation-wide. Construction projects exceeding a certain investing limit must seek pre-approval from NDRC. The various plans, such as the annual plan, the five years plan and the long-term development plan of China's national economy, are all established under the leadership of NDRC. Large projects, like the Three Gorges Power Station, must be approved by the State Council. NDRC is also responsible for localization of nuclear power plants.

For new nuclear power projects, the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) is jointly responsible for review and approval of the PFSR, the Project Proposal and the FSR submitted by the utility, the owner of the nuclear power plant. The utility has to submit the siting part of the FSR to the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) for review in order to get the Report for Siting of the Nuclear Power Plant from the NNSA. At the same time, the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA) reviews the Environmental Impact Report of the nuclear power plant submitted by the utility. Favourable reviews by the two organizations are required before final project approval is granted by NDRC.

1.3.3.  Main Indicators

In 2002, the total installed generation capacity was 356.6 GW, of which thermal power accounted for 74.5%, hydropower 24.1%, and nuclear power 1.3%. The total electricity production in 2002 amounted to 1,654 TW×h with a growth rate of 12% over the previous year. Most of the electricity was produced by thermal power (81.7%), whilst hydropower contributed 16.6% and nuclear electricity production only 1.6%. Nuclear power generation would play an important role as an alternative and supplementary energy resource, especially for the coastal areas where the economy is developing rapidly and there is a severe shortage of the primary energy resources. The electricity consumption per capita was 1,288 kW×h. Table 5 gives the historical electricity production and installed capacities and Table 6 the energy related ratios.


  Annual Average
Growth Rate (%)
Electricity Generation 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 2004 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2004
Total 115.90 300.62 621.20 1,354.86 1,905.63 2,191.07 7.82 12.77
Nuclear 0.00 0.00 0.00 16.00 41.59 47.80 .. 31.47
Hydro 20.50 58.20 126.72 222.41 283.68 350.63 6.93 12.05
Geothermal .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Wind .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Other renewables .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Thermal 95.40 242.42 494.48 1,116.45 1,580.36 1,792.64 7.94 12.57
Installed Capacity 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 2004 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2004
Total 24.18 65.87 137.89 298.57 357.60 419.76 7.85 8.89
Nuclear 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.17 5.98 6.60 .. 32.12
Hydro 8.18 20.32 36.05 72.97 86.08 108.26 6.60 10.36
Geothermal .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Wind .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Other renewables .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Thermal 16.00 45.55 101.84 223.43 265.55 304.90 8.28 8.08

Source: IAEA Energy and Economic Data Base and Country Information.


  Annual Average
Growth Rate (%)
  1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 2004 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2004
Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita) 12.3 19.0 25.7 31.7 38.9 45.2 2.58 9.27
Electricity per capita (KW.h/capita) 141.6 306.4 547.2 1,073.0 1,479.1 1,690.4 6.47 12.03
Nuclear/Total electricity (%) 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 2.2 2.2 .. 16.58
Annual capacity factor - Total (%) 54.7 52.1 51.4 51.8 60.8 59.6 -0.03 3.56
Annual capacity factor - Thermal (%) 68.1 60.8 55.4 57.0 67.9 67.1 -0.31 4.15
Annual capacity factor - Hydro (%) 28.6 32.7 40.1 34.8 37.6 37.0 0.31 1.53
Annual capacity factor - Nuclear (%) .. .. .. 84.3 79.4 82.7 .. -0.49
Annual capacity factor - Wind (%) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Annual capacity factor - Geothermal (%) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Annual capacity factor - Other renewables (%) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Source: IAEA Energy and Economic Data Base and Country Information.


2.1.  Historical Development and current nuclear power organizational structure1

2.1.1.  Overview

In 1970, the former premier Zhou Enlai pointed out the necessity for the peaceful use of atomic energy and development of nuclear power. This triggered the first step of nuclear power development in China.

In November 1981, the first nuclear project proposal, Qinshan 310 MW PWR, was reviewed and approved. In June 1983, site construction began. In December 1991, the Qinshan nuclear power plant was connected into the grid for the first time. Thus, nuclear power generation began on the Mainland of China.

Meanwhile, another proposal for building a nuclear power plant with two 984 MW PWRs on Daya Bay site was put forward and adopted by Chinese Government in 1982. In February 1985, Guangdong Electricity Power Company and China Light and Power Company Limited (Hong Kong) established a joint venture, Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company, to construct the Daya Bay nuclear power project. The first pouring of concrete took place in August 1987. The two units began commercial operation in February and May 1994, respectively.

On China's mainland there are 6 nuclear power plants with 11 units in operation or still under construction by the end of 2002.

In China, pressurized water reactors have been selected as the mainstream of nuclear power development, whilst other types of reactors are considered where suitable.

Research and development on advanced PWRs started in 1986.

Research and development on LMFRs started in 1964. A 25 MW(e) Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) is under construction. First criticality is scheduled for the end of 2005. Also R&D on HTGRs is carried out. In December 2000, the 10MW(th) pebble bed high temperature reactor (HTR-10) at Tsinghua University achieved criticality, and connected to the grid at the end of 2002, its experimental operation with full-power will be taken further in 2003.

2.1.2.  Current Organizational Chart(s)

The organizations involved with nuclear power are given in Figure 1. The China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) is a competent authority of the nuclear industry in China.

figure 1

CAEA: China Atomic Energy Authority                SEPA: State Environment Protection Administration

NNSA: National Nuclear Safety Administration      MOFCOM: Ministry of Commerce of the PRC

NDRC: National Development and Reform Commission

FIG. 1. Organizational Chart

As mentioned earlier, the CAEA is responsible for the short and long-term planning of nuclear power development according to the needs of national electricity and nuclear industry development. For new nuclear projects, the functions of CAEA are to review the Preliminary Feasibility Study Report (PFSP), the Project Proposal and the Feasibility Study Report (FSP) submitted by the project owner, then give its comments and decision to National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) for final approval.

The roles and responsibilities of CAEA are as follows:

The CAEA has five departments:

   The department is in charge of the administration, logistics and safeguards of the CAEA, and the management on physical protection for nuclear material and fire protection for NPP. There are three offices in the department: the Office for Nuclear Material Control (ONMC), the Office for Isotope Management (OIM) and the National Nuclear Emergency Response Office (NNERO).

   The department is in charge of organizing argumentation on major nuclear R&D projects, making a development plan for nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel; and is responsible for the construction, management and supervision on major projects, and routine work of nuclear accident emergency. The Nuclear Power Office (NPO) is under this department.

   This department is in charge of organizing and co-ordinating the exchange and co-operation in governments and international organizations in the field of nuclear energy; licensing for nuclear export and import and issuing governmental assurance.

   The department is in charge of approving the study plan for nuclear energy, and drawing up the annual plan for nuclear energy development.

   The department is in charge of organizing pre-studies on nuclear energy and mapping out nuclear technical criteria.

China has set up the personnel education and training system with universities, colleges and nuclear training organizations for systematic training young people in the field of nuclear technology and nuclear safety. At the same time, more attention has been given to the on-the-job training, all nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities dispatch a numbers of staff to universities or other training departments, a lot of person would be well trained. The training center and training department within the nuclear power plants or installations also take a variety of measures to achieve and maintain a high level of capability on nuclear technology and safety culture. Some encouragement measures are also considered to being taken to attract and promote more young people devoting to nuclear technology work.

2.2.  Nuclear Power Plants: Status and Operations

Table 7 shows the status of nuclear power plants by the end of 2002. there are 5 operating NPPs with 7 units on the mainland of China and 3 NPPs with 4 units are under construction. Nuclear electricity production in 2002 was 26 TW×h accounting for 1.6% of total electricity production. Nuclear installed capacity was only 4.5 GW, accounting for 1.3 % of the total installed generation capacity. Obviously, nuclear power possesses a minor part in power generation


Station Type Net Operator Status Reactor Construction Criticality Grid Commercial Shutdown
    Cpacity(MWe)     Supplier Date Date Date Date Date
GUANGDONG-1 PWR   944 GNPJVC Operational GEC 07-Aug-87 28-Jul-93 31-Aug-93 01-Feb-94  
GUANGDONG-2 PWR   944 GNPJVC Operational GEC 07-Apr-88 21-Jan-94 07-Feb-94 07-May-94  
LINGAO 1 PWR   938 LANPC Operational FRAM 15-May-97 04-Feb-02 26-Feb-02 28-May-02  
LINGAO 2 PWR   938 LANPC Operational FRAM 28-Nov-97 27-Aug-02 15-Dec-02 08-Jan-03  
QINSHAN 1 PWR   288 QNPC Operational CNNC 20-Mar-85 31-Oct-91 15-Dec-91 01-Apr-94  
QINSHAN 2-1 PWR   610 NPQJVC Operational CNNC 02-Jun-96 15-Nov-01 06-Feb-02 18-Apr-02  
QINSHAN 2-2 PWR   610 NPQJVC Operational CNNC 01-Apr-97 25-Feb-04 11-Mar-04 03-May-04  
QINSHAN 3-1 PHWR  650 TQNPC Operational AECL 08-Jun-98 21-Sep-02 19-Nov-02 31-Dec-02  
QINSHAN 3-2 PHWR  650 TQNPC Operational AECL 25-Sep-98 18-Jan-03 12-Jun-03 24-Jul-03  
TIANWAN 1 PWR   1000 JNPC Operational AEE&ZAES 20-Oct-99 20-Dec-05 12-May-06 17-May-07  
TIANWAN 2 PWR   1000 JNPC Operational AEE&ZAES 20-Oct-00 01-May-07 14-May-07 16-Aug-07  
HONGYANHE 1 PWR   1000 LHNPC Under Construction DFEC 18-Aug-07        
LINGAO 3 PWR   1000 LDNPC Under Construction DFEC 15-Dec-05 15-Jul-10 31-Aug-10 15-Dec-10  
LINGAO 4 PWR   1000 LDNPC Under Construction DFEC 15-Jun-06        
QINSHAN 2-3 PWR   610 NPQJVC Under Construction CNNC 28-Mar-06 28-Nov-10 28-Dec-10 28-Mar-11  
QINSHAN 2-4 PWR   610 NPQJVC Under Construction CNNC 28-Jan-07 30-Dec-09 28-Sep-11 28-Jan-12  

Source: IAEA Power Reactor Information System as of Dec. 2007

Qinshan NPP, a 310 MW PWR, is the first NPP with self-reliant design, construction and operation. Its commercial operation started in April 1994. Its total generation in 2002 was 1.78 TW×h with a load factor of 68 %(an overhaul act in 2002).

Daya Bay NPP has two 984 MW PWR units imported from France. Since commercial operation in February 1994 for the first unit and May 1994 for the other unit, the units have maintained good operation records. In 2002, the two units generated electricity of 14.7 TW×h and the load factor reached 90.5%.

Qinshan Nuclear Power Phase 2 is located at the Yangliushan, 3 km south of Qinshan Phase 1 site. The 2 x 650 MW PWR units are mainly based on self-reliant design and construction, some heavy equipment were imported from foreign countries. The first unit started commercial operation in April 2002, and the second unit will be put into operation at the end of 2003.

Guangdong Lingao NPP, 1 km northeast of Daya Bay NPP, consists of 2 French-designed PWR units with 990 MW each. The first concrete was poured on 15 May 1997. The installation of the nuclear island was started in January 1999, ahead of schedule. The containment of unit 1 has been domed on 9 April 1999. At present, the project is proceeding satisfactorily, unit 1 and unit 2 started commercial operation in May 2002 and January 2003, respectively. Its total generation in 2002 was 6.2 TW×h with a load factor of 82.7 %.

Qinshan Phase 3 at Tanglangshan, 800m east of the Qinshan Phase 1 site, includes 2 x 728 MW CANDU-6 (PHWR) units. AECL is contracting the project through a turnkey mode with Canadian export credit and commercial financing. The first concrete was poured in June 1998. Unit 1 and unit 2 started commercial operation in December 2002 and July 2003, respectively.

Tianwan NPP in Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province, 300 km north to Shanghai, includes 2 Russian advanced VVER-1000 91-Type PWR units with 1060 MW of installed capacity each. Russia will supply the design of the project and the main equipment for both nuclear and conventional islands. Some of equipment are procured from third parties. The Chinese party is responsible for civil engineering, erection and project management. The first concrete was poured in October 1999. Unit 1 and unit 2 are scheduled to complete for commercial operation by the end of 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Coastal and inland provinces, like Zhejiang, Shandong, Jiangsu, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangxi and Jilin, are considering the development of nuclear power. Some preliminary work has been done and a few sites have already been selected and approved by the relevant authorities.

Anyway, China will continue to develop nuclear power during its 10th Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005). China has the basic capability to design nuclear unit of one GWe class and manufacture its main equipment.

2.3.  Supply of Nuclear Power Plants

It is important to achieve domestic manufacturing of nuclear power equipment and self-reliance of design and project management of nuclear power plants.

Architecture Engineering services are provided by:

Construction and installation companies belonging to CNEC are:

The following companies also have experiences in the construction and installation of nuclear power project:

The main component suppliers and their subsidiary companies are shown in Table 8.



Manufacturing Works

Steam generator

Shanghai Boiler Works

Turbine and generator

Shanghai Turbine Works
Harbin Turbine Works
Dongfang Turbine and Generator Works

Reactor pressure vessel

Fularji Heavy Component Works
Shanghai Boiler Works
Deyang Heavy Component Works

I&C, safety class valves

China Baoyuan Industry and Trade Corporation
Shanghai Instrument Manufacturing Group Corporation


2.4. Operation of Nuclear Power Plants

CNNC, NPQJVC, TQNPC, GNPJVC and LNPC supply operation and maintenance services for Qinshan NPP, Qinshan Phase 2 NPP, Qinshan Phase 3 NPP, Daya Bay NPP and Lingao NPP, respectively (see Table 9).





Qinshan NPP



Daya Bay NPP



LingAo NPP



Qinshan Phase 2 NPP



Qinshan Phase 3 NPP



Tianwan NPP



CNNC China National Nuclear Corporation;

CGNPC China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co., Ltd;

NPQJVC Nuclear Power Qinshan Joint Venture Company;

TQNPC Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company;

JNPC Jiangsu Nuclear Power Company;

QNPC Qinshan Nuclear Power Company;

GNPJVC Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company;

LNPC Lingao Nuclear Power Company.


2.5. Fuel Cycle

China has a comprehensive range of fuel cycle facilities capable of supporting the domestic nuclear power programme: for example, nuclear fuel assemblies for the nuclear power plants are fabricated and supplied by local Chinese fuel manufacturers.

The main entities related to the nuclear fuel cycle are:

2.6.  Research and Development

Main entities engaged in R&D of nuclear power include:

China is actively involved in the development of advanced designs of water-cooled reactors, gas-cooled reactors and liquid metal cooled reactors.

In the water-cooled reactor area, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is developing the CNP-1000 plant. China is pursuing self-reliance both in designing the plant to meet Chinese safety requirements and in fostering local equipment manufacture with the objective of reducing construction and operation costs. Lessons learned from the design, construction and operation of the Qinshan Phase 2, Daya Bay and Lingao NPPs are being incorporated. At a smaller scale, the Institute for Nuclear Energy Technology near Beijing has developed an integral PWR of 200 MWth, called the NHR-200, for desalination and district heat.

The High Temperature Reactor (HTR-10) at Tsinghua University has been used to gain experience with pebble bed reactor operations and to conduct experimental and safety demonstration testing. Initial operation will be with a steam turbine, with prospects for later conversion to a gas turbine configuration. Benchmark experiments in reactor physics are being conducted in conjunction with the IAEA Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on Evaluation of HTGR Performance.

The 25 MW(e) Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) which is under construction will be used to gain experience with fast reactor operations and to conduct experimental and safety demonstration testing.

Otherwise some organizations have decided to make the feasibility study on using nuclear energy for heat supply and desalinization.

2.7.  International Co-operation and Initiatives

International co-operation on the nuclear power development is encouraged.



3.1.  Safety Authority and the Licensing Process

5.1.1.  Safety Authority

The National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA) and the Ministry of Health are responsible for surveillance on the safety of NPPs, environmental protection, the individual dose to the site personnel and the general public, hygienic and health conditions respectively.

The NNSA, which is endowed with the responsibilities of independent surveillance and management of the safety of Chinese civilian nuclear installations, was established in 1984 by the State Council. The responsibilities of the NNSA are:

The responsibilities of the SEPA are:

The responsibilities of the Ministry of Health are:

3.1.2.  Licensing Process

China has adopted a licensing system for nuclear safety. The nuclear safety license is a legal document that is approved by the regulatory body and authorizes applicant to deal with nuclear safety related specific activities (such as siting, constructing, commissioning, operation, decommissioning of NPPs; ownership, use, production, storage, transportation and disposal of nuclear materials, etc.). Figure 2 shows the procedure of application and issuing of licenses in China.

The following types of licenses for NPPs exist:

figure 2

FIG 2. The procedure of application and issuing of licenses

Site Permit

In accordance with the Chinese nuclear safety code "Application and Issuance of Safety License for Nuclear Power Plant", the applicant should follow national basic construction procedure: submitting the Nuclear Power Plant Feasibility Study Report to the NNSA and the Environmental Impact Report of Nuclear Power Plant to the SEPA prior to NPP site is selected. These reports should adequately explain that the site complies with the requirements of building NPP and national environmental protection standards. The reports are examined and evaluated by the NNSA and the SEPA respectively to determine whether the NPP to be built will be safely operated on the selected site. After that the Reviewing Comments on Nuclear Power Plant Siting and the Instrument of Ratification of the Environmental Impact Report for Nuclear Power Plant are granted.

Construction Permit

After the NPP's site is finally selected, the applicant should submit to the NNSA the Application for Construction of the Nuclear Power Plant, attached with the Preliminary Safety Analysis Report and other relative documents twelve months before starting the construction.

Commissioning Permit

The applicant should submit to the NNSA the application for the First Fuel Loading Authorization, attached with the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAP) and other relative documents twelve months before the fuel is initially loaded into the reactor core. The authorization must be obtained also for the criticality, power raising and the first year trial operation.

Operating License

The applicant should submit to the NNSA the application for Operation License of the Nuclear Power Plant with a revised FSAR after twelve months trial operation from the date of initially reaching full power. An operation license allows operation under specified conditions for the whole design life of the installation.

Decommissioning Permit

The applicant should submit to The NNSA the Application for Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plant with the Report for Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plant two years before the beginning of decommissioning of the plant.

The applicant should submit the application, safety analysis report and other related documents to the NNSA for appraisal and approval and only after that, applicant can carry out relevant nuclear activities. During the process of appraisal, the NNSA should ask for opinions of the departments concerned of the State Council as well as the local government of province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government where NPP is located. After getting the results of technical appraisal, asking for comments of the departments concerned of the State Council and local government, and also seeking advice from the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee, the NNSA decides independently whether the licenses are to be issued or not, meanwhile the NNSA enacts the essential requirements for licenses.

The operating organizations of NPPs are directly responsible for the safety of NPPs they operate. The main responsibilities are as follows:

3.1.3.  Licensing Operating Personnel

There are two categories of operator licenses: Senior Operator License and Operator License. There shall be at least three licensed persons in each shift at NPP. Among them there shall be at least one person who holds the Senior Operator License of the NPP. The operator licenses are valid for two years. The NNSA also reviews the granting of operator and senior operator licenses held by the licensees and can veto them.

The SEPA is responsible for approving instrument of ratification of environmental impact assessment of different phases of NPPs. Instrument of ratification of environmental impact assessment report is one of the necessary prerequisites before issuing a license.

3.2.  Main National Laws and Regulations in Nuclear Power

In 1989, the Environmental Protection Act of the People's Republic of China was authorized by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Regulations on the Safety Regulation for Civilian Nuclear installations of the People's Republic of China and Regulations on Nuclear Materials Control of the People's Republic of China were promulgated by the State Council in 1986 and 1987 respectively, which systematically stipulated the purpose and the scope of surveillance of civilian nuclear installations and nuclear materials, established nuclear safety licensing system, defined the duty of regulatory bodies and the legal responsibility of operation organizations. In 1993, Emergency Management Regulations for Nuclear Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants was promulgated by the State Council, which stipulated principles, countermeasures and measures adopted for nuclear accident emergency preparedness.

Codes on the safety of siting, design, operation and quality assurance of the NPP were issued by the NNSA in 1986. In 1990 the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) issued the Management of Radioactive Environment. Codes on radiation protection were enacted by the NNSA, the Ministry of Health, etc. In 1991 the NNSA promulgated codes on the Safety of the Management of Radioactive Waste from Nuclear Power Plants. All these rules and regulations form the basic requirements on the safety of the NPP.

In addition, the NNSA, the SEPA and the Ministry of Health consecutively formulated relevant codes of practice and safety guides, thereby formed a relatively systematic hierarchy of rules and regulations on nuclear safety. At present, the scope of regulations on nuclear safety in China includes:

Since 1982, China has collected extensively and studied carefully the laws/regulations on nuclear safety applied in advanced nuclear power countries, consulted the nuclear safety codes and guides of IAEA and established the nuclear safety regulations hierarchy of China. It consists of state laws, administrative regulations of the State Council, department rules, nuclear safety guides, standards and specifications.

The Atomic Energy Act (waiting for approval) is the legal document to adjust and accelerate the development of atomic energy enterprises and has the highest legal status in the area of atomic energy. It enacts not only the principles of the development of atomic energy enterprises, but also the requirements of nuclear safety surveillance and management.

The Environment Protection Act of People's Republic of China issued by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is a state law which protects and improves the living environment, prevents and cures the pollution and the contamination, ensures public health and promotes social development.

The Act of Prevention and Remedy of Radioactivity Contamination is a legal document. It gives directives to prevent environmental contamination due to the release of waste gas, discharge of liquid waste, disposing of solid waste and penetrated radiation during the process of nuclear energy development, nuclear technology application and the exploitation of associated mineral resources resulted in the protection of the environment and public health.

Nuclear Safety Control Regulations are rules to stipulate the scope of management, regulatory body and its rights, principle and procedures of surveillance and other important issues. They were promulgated by the State Council and have legal binding effect.

Detailed rules and regulations of implementation are department rules, which stipulated exact measures to be put into effect. They have been promulgated by departments concerned of the Chinese Government according to Nuclear Safety Control Regulations and have legal binding effect.

Nuclear Safety Codes are department rules enacting nuclear safety objectives and basic safety requirements. They have been promulgated by the relevant departments of the Chinese Government approved by the State Council and have legal binding effect. Standards and specifications related to nuclear safety are enacted by the SEPA and the Ministry of Health, etc. Nuclear Safety Guides are guiding documents that supplement or illustrate nuclear safety codes and recommend relevant methods or procedures.


4.1.  Energy Policy

Currently, the following issues relative to the future nuclear development program in China are discussed between the governmental authorities and industry:

(1) How many nuclear power capacities should be installed up to 2020?

(2) What type of NPP design will be chosen for massive construction in next step?

(3) How can the self-reliance goal be achieved in the development of large-scale nuclear unit?

It is sure that the final decisions will be made in near future on those issues.

4.2.  Privatisation and deregulation

At present, the electricity market has started to be decontrolled by the government, and a new price system will be set up with the reform of the electricity market.

By the end of 2002, the Chinese electric power set up (reorganization) 11 companies, the act realized the plant and grid to separate, has introduced competition mechanism, is the Chinese electric power organizational reform important achievement. The electric power organizational reform involves aspects, must according to the system design, divide the step of implementation positively, is safe, necessary advancement request, step by step as stages to complete the reform task. After reform of the electricity market, electricity prices would decline in a long-term.

Now the former State Electric Power Corporation has been divided into the following companies: State Grid Corporation of China and China Southern Gird Limited Company, as well as five electricity generation company - China HuaNeng Group, China DaTang Group, China HuaDian Corporation, China GuoDian (group) Corporation and China Power Investment Corporation with four auxiliary industry companies - China Electric Power Engineering Consultant Corporation, China Hydro Power Engineering Consultant Corporation, China National Water Resources and Hydro Power Engineering Corporation and China Gezhouba Construction Group for Water Resources and Hydro Power.

In China, as a new source of electricity generation, nuclear power will get the support in different ways and its electricity price will keep a stable level in the near term. However, it is a basic goal to decrease the nuclear generation cost by great efforts, because NPPs will finally face to competition against other type of power plants in the electricity market.

4.3.  Role of the government in the nuclear R& D

4.4.  Nuclear Energy and Climate Change

4.5.  Safety and waste management issues

4.6.  Other issues



IAEA Energy and Economic Data Base (EEDB).


IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).


Data & Statistics, The World Bank,


Country Information

Appendix 1





There are bilateral agreements for co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy between the Chinese Government and 16 countries: Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, USA, UK, Japan, Pakistan, Switzerland, Iran, Canada, Korea, Russia, France, Viet Nam, Egypt.

In addition, there are the following bilateral nuclear safety co-operation agreements between NNSA and:


Appendix 2



China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA)
A8, Fuchenglu, Haidian District
Beijing, 100037

Tel: +86 10-88581381 or 88581286
Fax: +86 10-88581516

National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA)
Attached to National Environment Protection Agency
No. 115 Xizhimennei Nanxiaojie
Beijing, 100035

Tel: +86 10-6611 1436 or 1446
Fax: +86 10-6612 6715

China National Nuclear Corporation
P.O. Box 2102
Beijing 100822, PRC

Tel: 86-10-6851-2211
Fax: 86-10-6853-3989

China Engineering and Technology
Nuclear Information Network (CETIN)


Nuclear Fuel Complex
P.O. Box 508
Lanzhou 732850, PRC


Nuclear Fuel Fabrication
P.O. Box 257
Chengdu, Yibin 610002

Tel: 86-0831-22-1811
Fax: 86-0831-22-3622

Nuclear Power Institute of China
P.O. Box 436
Chengdu 610041, PRC

Tel: 86-28-558-2199
Fax: 86-28-558-2223

Shanghai Nuclear Engineering and Design Institute
29 Hongcao Road Lu
Shanghai 200233, PRC

Tel: 86-021-6485-5415
Fax: 86-021-6439-0846


Institute of Nuclear Energy Technology
Tsinghua University
P.O. Box 1021
Beijing 100084, PRC

Tel: 86-10-6259-4533
Fax: 86-10-6256-4177

Beijing Institute of Nuclear Engineering
P.O. Box 840
Beijing 100840, PRC

Tel: 86-10-8802-2213
Fax: 86-10-6841-5067

China Institute of Atomic Energy
P.O. Box 275
Beijing 102413, PRC

Tel: 86-10-6935-7676
Fax: 86-10-6935-7008

China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation
P.O. Box 822
Beijing 100037, PRC

Tel: 86-10-6802-2491
Fax: 86-10-6801-0445

Institute of High Energy Physics
Academia Sinica (IHEP)

National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory
in Hefei (NSRL)

University of Science and Technology of China
(USTC - Hefei, Anhui)


1. The statistical tables in this profile have been updated with data as of the end of 2007 from IAEA databases, namely the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) and Energy and Economic Data Bank (EEDB), and the World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).