China Opens Vast Underground Nuke Plant to Public

      April 29, 2010 07:30

      China has opened the world's largest underground nuclear weapons plant to the public. According to the official China Daily on Tuesday, China opened the plant dubbed the "816 project" in a mountain in Chongqing's Fuling district to tourists recently. It lies in the world's largest man-made cave, which is 20 km deep.

      A 79.6 m-high nine-story building was built in the cave with a total floor area of some 13,000 sq.m. A reactor in the plant produced weapons-grade plutonium 239.

      The entire facility consists of 18 caves, 130 roads, tunnels, mine shafts, and weapons and food storage. It is designed to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake or a nuclear attack.

      Construction began with approval by then premier Zhou Enlai in 1967. A total of about 60,000 workers were mobilized during the eight-year construction, which cost 740 million yuan.

      In this screen-grab from the China Daily website, visitors look at an underground nuclear plant in Chongqing, China on Tuesday. /Courtesy of China Daily

      China decided to build this nuclear facility when relations with the Soviet Union turned sour in the 1960s, but it shut down amid changes in the international situation in 1984. In 2002, Beijing declassified the facility and now the Chongqing city government has opened it to the public.

      But the plant is still under strict control, with soldiers standing guard at the entrance. Tourists are allowed to enter only with permits, the daily reported.

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