Design plays a leading role in the whole life cycle of nuclear power production, including site selection, design, manufacture, construction, operation and decommission. The quality of the design products directly affects the intrinsic safety of the nuclear power plant. The quality of final products in design process depends on a number of factors, including not only technology capability, but also the improvement of design quality assurance system, the capability and responsibility of the designers to nuclear safety, the thinking mode and working habit of the designers, and the extent of complete implementation of the review systems at all levels. These factors consequently affect the level of safety of the nuclear power plant.

Nuclear power design industry is typical knowledge-intensive business, in which knowledge workers consist of essential assets to the enterprise. The article analyzes the asset structure and staff structure of nuclear power design industries in contrast with other industries, and discusses the contribution of knowledge workers to the development of the enterprise. This paper also tries to document the characteristics of knowledge workers in nuclear power enterprises. They are characteristic of superior income and welfare, high level education and ability, high specialization, and tacit knowledge.

Based on these analyses, the article addresses four major principles in nuclear safety culture construction for nuclear power design enterprises as follows: 1. adopt motivation factors as major incentives, 2. emphasize self management, 3. management by objectives (MBO), 4. team work.

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