Use of AFCEN codes around the world

AFCEN codes are used as reference for nuclear components in over 100 power plants currently in operation (92), under construction (21) or in planning stages (7) around the world.

Since 1980, AFCEN codes have served as basis for the design and fabrication of specific Class 1 mechanical components (vessels, internals, steam generators, primary motor pump units, pressurizers, primary valves and fittings) and Class 2 and 3 components, and electrical components for France’s last 16 nuclear units (P’4 and N4) as well as for the construction of nuclear civil engineering works in South Africa (Koeberg) and Korea (Ulchin). These reactors actually represent the first applications of AFCEN’s codes. AFCEN codes were subsequently used to design, build and operate the Daya Bay and Ling Ao power plants in China.

The table hereafter summarizes how the different AFCEN codes are used around the world during the planning, design, construction and operation of the concerned reactors.


P: in project / C: construction / O: operation

In addition to these formal applications of the codes and given their reputation, AFCEN codes have also served in France for designing many other nuclear research facilities and equipment, despite not being official standards.

Examples include:

  • The design of certain mechanical components and specific civil engineering works in nuclear research facilities: Institut Laue-Langevin, Laser Mega Joule and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.
  • The design of nuclear steam supply systems for marine propulsion.


Nuclear infrastructure

AFCEN codes have gradually been used by France’s nuclear industry with 1,300 MWe reactors: Cattenom 2 (first vessel manufactured with RCC-M) and Flamanville 2 (first steam generator and first pressurizer manufactured with RCC-M).

The RCC-M, RSE-M, RCC-C and RCC-E codes are used for the operation of all of France’s nuclear power plants.


AFCEN codes serve as basis for licensing of the EPR project in France. The RCC-M (2000 edition + addenda), RSE-M (2010 edition), RCC-C (2005 edition + addenda) and RCC-E (2005 edition) codes are used.

Jules Horowitz Reactor

For the Jules Horowitz research reactor currently undergoing construction at the Cadarache site, the RCC-Mx code (predecessor to RCC-MRx) was chosen for designing and manufacturing the mechanical components that fall within the code’s scope, i.e.:

  • mechanical equipment with a sealing, partitioning, securing or supporting role,
  • mechanical equipment that may contain or allow the circulation of fluids (vessels, tanks, pumps, exchangers, etc.) and their supporting structures.

For experimental facilities, application of the RCC-Mx code is recommended, but not mandatory.


ITER used the 2007 version of the RCC-MR code as a roadmap for its vacuum vessel and blanket cooling pipes. This code was chosen for the vacuum vessel on both technical grounds (the equipment and technology are covered by the code) and regulatory grounds (the code is adapted to French legislation).


Nuclear marine propulsion

The construction of nuclear marine propulsion equipment, which is the responsibility of the DCNS Group (generally concerning the key equipment for the main primary and secondary systems), is based on a specific technical standard that refers to the RCC-M code for design, standardization and fabrication conforming to internal rules, which are technically highly similar to those of the RCC-M code.

This specific organization is related to the history of nuclear propulsion: this industry’s expertise was long ago documented as a series of instructions and procedures, which have gradually been improved through feedback and external standardization. In particular, when the RCC-M code was published, the DCNS Group endeavored to bring its own rules into alignment with the code, and ensure overall consistency in terms of the design and fabrication process, while maintaining the specific features of marine propulsion equipment (dimensions, accessibility and dismantling difficulties, stress resistance requirements for equipment in military-type applications, radiation protection requirements due to the crew’s constant proximity, etc.).


AFCEN codes are widely used in China for the design, construction, preliminary inspection and in-service inspection of Chinese Generation II+ nuclear power plants (based on developments of the M310 technology introduced from France) and Generation III reactors (especially EPR units).

The decision to use AFCEN codes for Generation II+ nuclear projects in China is itself specified by a decision taken by the Chinese Safety Authority (NNSA) in 2007 (NNSA Decision n° 28)./p>

By the end of 2016, 44 of the 56 units in operation or under construction in China were using AFCEN codes, with 30 in operation and 14 under construction. These units correspond to the M310, CPR-1000, ACPR-1000, HPR-1000, CPR-600 and EPR projects highlighted in blue in the table below.

During 2016:

  • Work has started on the construction of one new reactor: one HPR-1000.
  • Five reactors, all of which designed according to AFCEN codes, have been commissioned.




The 2002 edition of the RCC-MR code is being used to design and manufacture the major components of India’s PFBR reactor (Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor). The 2007 edition of the code is serving as a baseline for the FBR 1 and 2 projects. Feedback from the construction of the PFBR reactor is being incorporated into subsequent versions of the code and the RCC-MRx code, which replaces RCC-MR.

United Kingdom

AAFCEN’s ambitions for the United Kingdom are tied to the development of EPR projects, starting with the two reactors at Hinkley Point C site (HPC) and two other plants at Sizewell C.

  • RCC-M 2007 edition + addenda,
  • RCC-E 2005 edition (this edition is used for the GDA),
  • ETC-C 2010 edition,
  • ETC-F 2013 edition,
  • RCC-C 2005 edition (this edition is used for the GDA), but the 2015 edition for the first fuel refills.

NNB has decided to use the 2010 edition of the RSE-M code for monitoring in-service mechanical components, while adapting certain rules to meet the context and operational requirements specific to the United Kingdom.

The project to build a reactor featuring Chinese technology (UK HUALONG) is undergoing the GDA process in the UK (Bradwell B). The design of this project is mainly based on a reactor that is currently being built in China according to AFCEN codes (Fangchenggang 3).


For Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 project, mechanical equipment from the highest safety classes (classes 1 and 2) are being designed and manufactured according to one of the three nuclear codes (RCC-M, ASME Section III and KTA). The RCC-M code was chosen as reference for designing and fabricating the main mechanical components, such as the vessel, pressurizer, steam generators, primary circuits, pressure relief valves and severe accident valves.

South Africa and South Korea

The first AFCEN codes were drafted in the 1980s for exports based on feedback from the CP1 design for 900 MWe class PWRs in France.

The first exported CP1 900 MWe class PWR was built in Koeberg, South Africa, and subsequently in Ulchin, South Korea. The RCC-M code has been used in South Africa and South Korea for mechanical engineering works. In terms of civil engineering works, the 1980 edition of the RCC-G code (RCC-CW code’s predecessor) has been used for containment acceptance testing.