For geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste HLW), the Chinese policy is that the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) should e reprocessed first, followed by vitrification and final disposal. The preliminary repository concept is a shaft-tunnel model, located in saturated zones in granite, while the final waste form for disposal is vitrified high-level radioactive waste. In 2006, the government published a long-term research and development (R&D) plan for geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The program consists of three steps: (1) laboratory studies and site selection for a HLW repository (2006–2020); (2) underground in-situ tests (2021–2040); and (3) repository construction (2041–2050) followed by operation. With the support of China Atomic Energy Authority, comprehensive studies are underway and some progresses are made. The site characterization, including deep borehole drilling, has been performed at the most potential Beishan site in Gansu Province, Northwestern China. The data from geological and hydrogeological investigations, in-situ stress and permeability measurements of rock mass are presented in this paper. Engineered barrier studies are concentrated on the Gaomiaozi bentonite. A mock-up facility, which is used to study the thermo-hydro-mechano-chemical (THMC) properties of the bentonite, is under construction. Several projects on mechanical properties of Beishan granite are also underway. The key scientific challenges faced with HLW disposal are also discussed.