Use of AFCEN codes around the world

AFCEN codes represent the benchmark for nuclear components in over 100 power plants currently in operation (79), under construction (26) or in the planning stages (1) around the world.

Since 1980, AFCEN codes have served as the blueprint for the design and fabrication of specific mechanical and electrical components, as well as the construction of nuclear civil engineering works in South Africa (Koeberg), Korea (Ulchin) and China (Daya Bay and Ling Ao). These reactors actually represent the first applications of AFCEN's codes.

Table hereinafter summarises how the different AFCEN codes are used around the world during the planning, design, construction and operation of the reactors concerned.

In addition to these formal applications of the codes and given their reputation, AFCEN codes have also served as inspiration 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: ITER, Jules Horowitz Reactor, Institut Laue-Langevin, Laser Mega Joule and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.
  • The design of nuclear steam supply systems for marine propulsion.
Use of AFCEN Codes around the world (at the end of 2014)
Project Country States of the reactors Number of reactors Number of reactors using or have used AFCEN codes for: Codes used
P C O design and/or construction operation RCC-M RCC-CW RCC-E RCC-C RCC-F RSEM RCC-MRx
Nuclear Park France 58 58 16 58 C, E C, E C, E C, E E
M310 South Africa 2 2 2 C C
Korea 2 2 2 C C
China 4 4 4 4 C, E C C, E E
CPR 1000 China 15 9 24 24 24 C, E C C, E E
CPR 600 China 2 4 6 6 6 C, E C C, E E
EPR Finland 1 1 1 C
France 1 1 1 1 C, E C C C C E
China 2 2 2 2 C, E C C C E
UK 2 2 2 2 C, E C C C E
PFBR India 1 1 1 C
RJH France 1 1 1 C
ITER France 1 1 1 C
ASTRID France 1 1 1 P
1 26 79 106 64 97
P: in project / C: construction / O: operation


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 pressuriser manufactured with RCC-M).

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


AFCEN codes serve as a benchmark for licensing of the EPR project in France.


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.

In terms of experimental devices, 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: the expertise of the marine propulsion industry 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, ...).


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 in the M310 generation 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 regulated by a decision taken by NNSA in 2007 (NNSA Decision no. 28).

By the end of 2014, 36 of the 48 units in operation or under construction in China were modeled on AFCEN codes, with 17 in operation and 19 under construction. These units correspond to the M310, CPR-1000, CPR-600 and EPR projects highlighted in yellow in table below.

Type of reactor Units in operation (no.) Units under construction (no.) Total number
300 MWe Qinshan I (1) 1
M310 Dayabay (2)

Ling’Ao (2)

CPR1000 Ling’Ao (2)

Hongyanhe (2)

Ningde (2)

Yangjiang (1)

Fuqing (1)

Fangjiashan (1)

Hongyanhe (2)

Ningde (2)

Yangjiang (5)

Fangchenggang (2)

Fuqing (3)

Fangjiashan (1)

CPR600 Qinshan II (4) Changjiang (2) 6
CANDU 6 Qinshan III (2) 2
AP1000 Sanmen (2)

Haiyang (2)

EPR Taishan (2) 2
AES—91 Tianwan (2) Tianwan (2) 4
HTR-PM Shidaowan (1) 1
Total Number 22 26 48

Note that according to a recent presentation by NSC (the technical support of the Chinese nuclear safety authority), the Hualong project, which features proprietary Generation III technology developed by Chinese designers (CNNC and CGN), also uses AFCEN codes.

Over the last two years:

  • Seven reactors, all of which designed according to AFCEN codes, have been commissioned.
  • Work has started on the construction of five new reactors: two CPR-1000s (using AFCEN codes), two VVERs and one HTGR.



The 2002 edition of the RCC-MR code is being used to design and fabricate the major components of India's PFBR 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

AFCEN's ambitions for the United Kingdom are tied to the development of EPR projects in England, starting with the two reactors at the Hinkley Point C site (HPC).

Use of AFCEN codes for the design and construction of the EPR in the UK was incorporated into the Generic Design Assessment process (GDA) conducted by the ONR (Office for Nuclear Regulation).

The licensing process is still in progress between the licensee (NNB, Nuclear New Build) and the ONR.

The codes concerned are as follows:

RCC-M 2007 edition + addenda

RSE-M 1997 edition (only Appendix 5.4 supplementing RCC-M) + 2005 addenda

RCC-E 2005 edition

ETC-C 2010 edition

ETC-F 2012 edition

In terms of monitoring mechanical components, operator NNB is presently looking into an in-service approach and the role that could potentially be played by the RSE-M code.


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 the benchmark for designing and fabricating the main mechanical components, such as the vessel, pressurizer, steam generators, primary circuits, pressure relief valves and serious accident valves.

South Africa

The first AFCEN codes were drafted to support licensing of the M310 project (based on the CP2 design for 900 MWe class PWRs in France).

The first M310 was built in Koeberg, South Africa.

However, use of AFCEN codes in South Africa for mechanical and electrical components has been extremely limited. The same cannot be said of civil engineering works, where the 1980 edition of the RCC-G code has been used for containment acceptance testing.