At a press conference on 13 July, China General Nuclear (CGN) spokesman Huang Xiaofei announced that the FirmSys digital I&C system developed by its Beijing CTEC System Engineering Co Ltd subsidiary had successfully completed an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Independent Engineering Review of Instrumentation and Control Systems (IERICS).

The IAEA team concluded that FirmSys meets IAEA Safety Standard requirements following a review of the FirmSys I&C system in June 2015 and a three-day pre-assessment last November. In April, an IAEA expert mission completed an eight-day on-site review. The IERICS team has examined the system's platform architecture, security features, hardware, software, communications, testing and validation process and other system applications.

CGN described the system as the "nerve centre" of a NPP, capable of controlling more than 260 plant systems running nearly 10,000 pieces of equipment and process conditions. It plays an important role in the safe, reliable and stable operation of the plant, it said. The company estimates that installation of its system in a Chinese plant would cost about CNY 300 million ($45 million) less than a comparable imported system.

CTEC officially launched research and development of nuclear-grade digital control systems in 2007. The company released its first nuclear digital I&C system – FirmSys – in 2010. In September 2011, CTEC commissioned Germany's Institute for Safety Technology (ISTec) – a subsidiary of independent testing service provider TÜV Rheinland – to carry out independent verification and validation of the FirmSys platform. In November 2014, ISTec confirmed the FirmSys system meets international standards for use in nuclear power plant I&C systems.

According to CGN, FirmSys has already been used in the upgrades of several of China's operating plants and in the construction of new units. It is now being installed at units 5 and 6 of the Yangjiang NPP, as well as units 5 and 6 of the Hongyanhe plant. It has also been specified for use in the demonstration Hualong One units at Fangchenggang units 3 and 4, and the ACPR1000 reactors at Tianwan units 5 and 6 as well as in the demonstration HTR-PM high-temperature gas-cooled reactors at Shidaowan.