In the past more than 30 years, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) has accumulated abundant of valuable experience in developing nuclear power, such as training, public communication, localization program, capacity building, nuclear power construction and operation. CGN has successfully developed a self-sustaining mechanism of “achieving growth in nuclear power with proceeds from existing nuclear power stations in a rolling-on manner”, which makes CGN grow to be a world giant in nuclear power.
Key words

Nuclear power, nuclear power project, nuclear power development experience, nuclear power technology

1.       Preface

As the biggest nuclear power company in China, by the end of May 2016, CGN has successfully built up 16 nuclear power units, and has 12 units under construction. The localization ratio has been gradually and significantly increased from 1% to 85% for its NPP (nuclear power plant) projects in the past 30 years. In line with its self-reliance program, CGN has developed its own generation nuclear power technology – HPR1000 and small modular reactor technologies – ACPR100 and ACPR50s. Moreover, CGN is also working on generation nuclear power technology R&D.

This paper will introduce CGN’s experience on how to grow from a NPP technology importer to a NPP technology exporter through self-reliance program.

2.       CGN Overview

2.1.    China General Nuclear Power Group

China General Nuclear Power Group is a large clean energy group comprising its core member China General Nuclear Power Corporation and over 40 subsidiaries, having more than 36,000 employees.

Since its inception, CGN has been making unrelenting efforts to fulfill its mission of “developing clean energy to benefit mankind” and to realize its vision of “to build a world-class clean energy group” with “doing things right in one go” as its core value.

As of the end of May 2016, CGN has 16 units in operation with an installed capacity of 17,090 MWe (accounting for 60% of domestic nuclear power capacity), and another 12 units are currently under construction with a total installed capacity of 14,650 MWe (accounting for 20% of the world’s total).

CGN has been No.1 in the world in terms of nuclear power units under construction in the past 6 years (building 12 to 16 units simultaneously) and is the top 4 in terms of NPP capacity in operation. Going forward to 2030, CGN will continuously strengthen its core competence in nuclear power and become the world’s top 3 by putting more units into operation.

In addition, CGN owns an installed capacity of 8,720 MWe from wind power, a controlled installed capacity totaled 1,440 MWe from solar photovoltaic power, for hydro power, CGN has a controlled installed capacity of 1,580 MWe, an equity capacity of 3,400 MWe. Moreover, CGN has made great efforts in distributed energy, nuclear technology application and energy conservation technical services.

2.2.    CGN’s Core Business

CGN’s main business scope is divided into 4 key sectors which are nuclear power, new energy, nuclear fuel and financial & general service among which nuclear power is its core business.

2.3.    CGN’s Nuclear Power Operation Performance

All of the safety technical indicators of the NPPs in operation of CGN have reached the international advanced level.

Starting from 1999, Daya Bay NPP and Ling’ao NPP Phase I have won 32 first prizes in competitions with more than 60 French and foreign country units of similar design at the prestigious annual Safety Challenge Contests.

Among the WANO indicators for assessing the safety level of an operating unit, all the operating units have maintained excellent performance level. In 2015, 65.3% of WANO performance indicators among mature units ranked in the top decile (or world’s excellent level), 71.9% of indicators among new operating units reached top quartile (or world’s advanced level).


2.4.    CGN’s Nuclear Power Construction Performance

CGN’s nuclear power units currently under construction account for 20% of the international nuclear new builds. Through the projects under construction, CGN is pushing full steam ahead with the self-reliance and industrialization programs of Chinese NPP in line with the latest international standards. Specifically, the localization ratio of equipment manufacturing has leapfrogged from 1% of Daya Bay NPP, in the initial stage, to 85% in Yangjiang NPP, and nearly 100% for HPR1000 units.

The construction duration maintains the level of excellence and ranks in the top of one fifth as compared with similar units across the world. The average construction duration is 62 months and all the projects are well kept on budget control. The safety incident rate for 200 thousand working hours was as low as 0.014 in 2015, rendering it one of the world leaders in this field. Safety Level of the five nuclear projects under construction all exceeds L7.


3.       CGN’s NPP Development experience

Through more than 30 years’ development in nuclear power, CGN has accumulated abundant experience which helps it to realize its vision of “to build a world-class clean energy group”.


3.1.    Training is highly valued

Training is one of the priorities in CGN. In order to support the fast development of the group, CGN University was set up with CGN’s Chairman as the university’s president.

The following features ensured the success of CGN’s training work. Firstly, the importance of training is the consensus of CGN top management, CGN’s Chairman was appointed as CGN University’s president. Secondly, CGN has come up with advanced training philosophies, such as “to develop business, talents first”, “all staff training and lifelong training”, “to cultivate staff rather than to provide training only”, “let the outstanding people to be trainers” and “every manager is a trainer” etc. Thirdly, CGN has established comprehensive training system. Fourthly, online learning has been introduced. Fifthly, “training – evaluation – authorization – on job” system is implemented in CGN, which means all posts require authorization, authorization needs evaluation and training is a necessary precondition for evaluation.

Currently, CGN University owns more than 250 fulltime training managers. There are 11 training centers under CGN University, which include management training center, nuclear power operation training center, nuclear power engineering training center, education center, technical talents center, nuclear fuel training center, new energy training center and nuclear power service training center etc. The total investment on training facilities has exceeded 800 million USD.

There are several training types adopted in CGN training, which includes classroom training, on-the-job training, network training and mobile training.

The annual training time for engineering staff is not less than 7% of their annual working time, while not less than 12% for operation staff.

3.2.    Focusing on Public Communication

Public communication is an important part of nuclear power project development and exists in the whole process of a nuclear power project from pre-project to decommission. It is crucial to the success of a nuclear power project.

CGN has set up a public relationship office in 1986 which was the first of its kind in China. Now, CGN operates a public communication department at its headquarters, and every nuclear power base has a dedicated public relationship organization in charge of public communication.

Public communication targets are identified into four categories which are government, opinion leaders and societies, teenagers, stake holders and peripheral communities.

CGN has come up with Creating “3N” Harmonious Communities Program, in which “3N” means safe Neighbor, friendly Neighbor and worm Neighbor.

Transparency is one of the genes for nuclear safety, and the cornerstone for nuclear safety and public trust. CGN always keep transparent to the public through information disclosure, setting advisory committee, organizing open day, industrial travel and exhibition, holding public dialogues, using social media and cooperating with colleges.

In each nuclear power project site of CGN, the construction of an exhibition center for public education and visit priors to the construction of the nuclear power project.

3.3.    Localization Program

Although the equipment manufacturing localization ratio of CGN’s first nuclear power unit is only 1%, CGN had set up a localization plan called self-reliance and industrialization program and has been pushing the whole industry to achieve its target.

In 2009, CGN Nuclear Power Equipment Localization Joint R&D Center was set up which comprising of 51 equipment manufactures at the beginning, and currently with more than 80 members. Relying on CGN’s nuclear power projects, this center provides a collaborative innovation platform for all the members to promote the localization program. Nuclear power engineering localization ecosystem was created and more than 5,400 companies in the industry are benefited from the program. An integrated nuclear power equipment manufacture chain has been formed to support the development of China nuclear power program.

Localization ratio leapfrogs from 1% to 85% and to nearly 100% for HPR1000.


Take one HPR 1000 unit as an example, more than 15,000 jobs could be created each year directly from design, manufacture, civil works, erection, commission and O&M and more than 100,000 jobs could be created to support the whole project. A lot of jobs are created in a NPP development.


3.4.    Accumulating Capital for NPP by “A Rolling-on Manner”

Building on the successful completion of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station project, CGN has put into place a self-sustaining mechanism of “achieving growth in nuclear power with proceeds from existing nuclear power stations in a rolling-on manner”.


As of the end of 2015, the total assets of CGN reached up to 68.7 billion USD. CGN has a strong capability to invest new nuclear power units in China and abroad.


Assets and profit chart


3.5.    Close Collaboration with Financial Institutions

Ever since the construction of Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in 1980s, CGN has established good relationships with Bank of China, China Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of China and other Chinese financial institutions. As CGN always pay the loan on time, all the financial institutions are willing to provide financing for CGN’s new projects.

Presently, CGN owns China General Nuclear Capital Holdings Co., Ltd, CGN Finance Co., Ltd, and CGN Insurance Broking Co., Ltd which are in charge of financing and insurance business for CGN’s nuclear power projects.

Benefiting from the fast development of China, Chinese financial institutions have strong abilities to provide financing with competitive interest, especially for big projects. Moreover, China government supports CGN to go abroad by providing preferential loans.

3.6.    Flexible on Contracting Mode

CGN is the largest nuclear power constructor both in China and around the world. For nuclear power construction, CGN could do EPC or EPC-turnkey project alone or setting up a consortium with partners according to the needs of the owner.

3.7.    Developing Capabilities on Pre-project work

Pre-project work is fundamental for a nuclear power project which could have vital effects on budget and construction duration.

For a nuclear power project, the duration from site selection to the first concrete date (FCD) will be around 5 years or even longer. This stage is called pre-project. From FCD to commercial operation is called principal project which will take another 5 years or more. There is a lot of work to do in pre-project stage.

Pre-project stage could be divided into 3 stages which are potential survey stage, preliminary feasibility study stage and feasibility study stage. CGN has formed strong capabilities in pre-project and can provide specialized preliminary consultancy service, including developing Prefeasibility Study Report, Feasibility Study Report and Environment Impact Analysis Report etc.


The overall schedule of the pre-project


CGN has also been involved in drafting China national nuclear power development plan, laws and technical standards system, and has the ability to help other countries to draft their own nuclear power development plan.


3.8.    Independent NPP Operation& Maintenance Management

In order to ensure the safe operation and reduce operation and maintenance cost, CGN started the management philosophy of NPP fleet management in 1995 starting from the construction of its second nuclear power project – Ling’ao NPP Phase. In which program, the operation and maintenance experience as well as spare parts could be shared among different units to improve operation safety and economy of all the units.


Now, CGN has 16 units in operation, which are all included in the fleet management system. In the future, the oversea projects built by CGN could also benefit from this program.


3.9.    Nuclear Fuel Business

Uranium is the fuel for nuclear power plants. In order to guarantee the stable supply of nuclear fuel, CGN has set up CGN Uranium Resources Co., ltd to charge of nuclear fuel business.


As of the end of 2015, CGN has controlled uranium resources of 303,400 tons, and inked a trade volume of 75,000 tons worldwide. In Africa, CGN owns and operates Husab Uranium Mine, which is the third largest uranium mine in the world.


3.10.    Low and Medium Radioactive Waste Disposal

Simultaneously with the construction of a nuclear power plant, the low and medium radioactive waste disposal site should be planned and built to ensure the low and medium radioactive waste produced during the normal operation of a nuclear power plant is safely disposed.


4.       Nuclear Power Technologies

4.1.    HPR1000

HPR1000 is an evolutionary advanced Gen-III PWR nuclear power technology developed by CGN which satisfies HAF (Nuclear safety regulations in china), IAEA SSR (International Atomic Energy Agency Specific Safety Requirements), EUR (European user requirements), URD (Utility Requirements Document) and the post-Fukushima safety requirements.

The design of HPR1000 has taken advantages of proven technology and considered experience feedback from PWR NPPs in operation or under construction in China and over the world

4.1.1. Characteristics of HPR1000

n  Safety

HPR1000 combines active and passive safety systems and the ability of emergency power supply and cooling down is enhanced following feedback of Fukushima Accident. Severe accidents prevention and mitigation measures are refined.


n  Economy

The design target of overnight cost of HPR1000 in China is 2,250 USD/kW, which is very competitive in the same kind of NPPs. While pursuing superb safety performance, we reached balance between economy and other considerations.


n  Proven

HPR1000 is designed based on proven technology and is compatible with existing manufacturing industry system in China and the world.


So far there are 6 HPR1000 units are under construction, and many more are waiting for approval. This makes HPR1000 the only Gen III nuclear power technology in batch construction in the world.


4.1.2. Parameters of HPR1000

The basic parameters of HPR1000



Loop Number


Core Thermal Power, MW


Electric Output, MW


Primary Side Design Pressure

17.23 MPa abs

Primary Side Design Temperature


Number of Fuel Assemblies

177 (12 feet)

Fuel cycle

18-24 months


Comparison with URD and EUR





CDF(Core Damage Frequency), /(reactor·year)




LRF(Large Radioactive Release Frequency), /(reactor·year)




Fuel Thermal Margin




Design availability Factor




Safe shutdown earthquake




Operator grace time

≥30 min

≥30 min

≥30 min

Solid waste generation, m3/(year·unit)




Design lifetime, year





4.2.    ACPR100/50S

CGN has developed two different small modular reactor technologies which are ACPR100 and ACPR50s.




Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors, and manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be fully constructed.


SMR could be widely used for different purposes, such as small and medium-sized power supply; distributed power, heat and steam supply for Industrial Park; distributed compositive energy supply; central heating or cooling for city; desalination of sea water and bitter-brackish water desalination.


4.2.1. Characteristics of ACPR100 and ACPR50S


n  High Safety: Easy to achieve design safety, passive safety and no off-site emergency measure

n  Modularity: Modularity design, prefabrication in factory, shorten installation duration

n  Multiple application: Small power to flexible application, distributed composite energy supplier of electricity, freshwater, heat and steam

n  Competitive costs: Composite energy supplier, modularity, Simplified systems and compact components

n  Plant site flexibility: Small site area, low requirement for geology and cooling water

n  Convenience of components transportation: Small size and weight

n  CleanReduced Carbon emission. Environment improvement SMR plant of 2 ACPR100 modules replacing a general fossil firepower plant of 200MW.


4.2.2. Parameters of ACPR100 and ACPR50s



Thermal output (MWt)


Thermal output (MWt)


Electrical  output (MWe)


Electrical  output (MWe)


Primary pressure (MPa)


Primary pressure (MPa)


Fuel arrangement


Fuel arrangement


Assembly number


Assembly number


RPV average temperature ()


RPV average temperature ()


Secondary pressure (MPa)


Secondary pressure (MPa)


Secondary steam temperature()


Secondary steam temperature()


Outer diameter of RPV (m)


Outer diameter of RPV (m)


RPV height (m)


RPV height (m)


Containment height (m)


Containment height (m)


Inner diameter of containment (m)


Inner diameter of containment (m)


Refueling interval (Month)


Refueling interval (Month)


Construction duration (Month)


Construction duration (Month)



5.       Conclusion

Since the introduction of Chinese civil nuclear power program in 1972 and the planning of its first big commercial NPP in 1979, more than 30 years have passed, lots of experience is accumulated, and some lessons are learned, we think these experience and lessons are beneficial and helpful for the countries planning to develop your own NPP program. CGN is willing to share its experience with friends and contribute to your NPP program.

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