Load-following control is one of the key techniques that guarantee the safety, stability and efficient operation of the nuclear reactors. In this paper, a variable structure control system based on sliding mode method is designed in order to improve of the pressurized water reactor’s load-following capability. According to the reactivity influential factors during the load-following process, nonlinear point reactor kinetics equations are established. The state observer is introduced to solve the problem that parts of the state variables cannot be measured. Finally, the sliding mode controller is presented via designing a nonlinear sliding mode surface and selecting an appropriate reaching law, which can reduce the chattering phenomenon. It is theoretically proved that this newly-built controller not only provides globally asymptotic closed-loop stability but also is adaptive to the system uncertainty. The simulation results demonstrate that the control system can restrain the overshoot effectively, increase the response speed, and has greater robustness to the external disturbances.

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