Nuclear safety, particularly avoidance of accidents, is ensured by good design and operation. In this respect, a defence in depth principle is generally applied in the design and operation of nuclear power station.
The construction and operation of GNPS and LNPS are bound by the relevant safety regulations for civilian nuclear installations of the People's Republic of China and have to comply with the national regulatory requirements for granting of the construction and operation license. The National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) under the Ministry of Environmental Protection is responsible for licensing and siting nuclear power plants, ensuring nuclear safety, carrying out safety inspections and participating in the emergency response to accidents within a nuclear power plant, among other things. China Atomic Energy Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is responsible for emergency response to an off-site nuclear emergency at the national level (through its National Nuclear Emergency Response Office).
The two well-known accidents on nuclear reactors at Chernobyl in 1986 and Three Mile Island in 1979 had significant impact to the nuclear industry around the world. It had brought about major changes to nuclear power plants to ensure nuclear safety, particularly in enhancement of operator training and emergency planning. Since then, there was no major nuclear accident until March 2011 when the accident at Fukushima occurred which had rekindled global concern about nuclear safety and preparedness in dealing with major nuclear emergencies. The IAEA and countries across the globe using nuclear energy have been taking proactive actions to enhance nuclear safety and emergency preparedness.