China's first nuclear research base opens to visitors

Updated: 2007-05-03 18:59

China's first nuclear weapons research and production base in northwest China's Qinghai Province has been declassified and opened to tourists.

"The underground headquarters of the nuclear weapons research and production base are a curiosity to many people. They can see the 'nuclear city' for themselves," said Zuo Xumin, an official with the Haibei Tibet Autonomous Prefecture where the base is located.

"The base will be developed into a key travel site, and it will become a platform for spurring the patriotic spirit of Chinese people," Zuo said.

The base was the birthplace of China's first atomic and hydrogen bombs. It was built in 1958 on the grassland at the north region of Qinghai, covering more than 1,100 square km.

It was closed by the government in 1987 to support its demands for a complete ban on the destruction of the world's nuclear weapons. It was handed over to the local government in 1993.

The headquarters of the base comprised eight large rooms 9.3 meters below the ground and built with reinforced concrete.

Tourists can visit the rooms, which originally held a research laboratory, a command room, electricity generation room and telegraph transmitting room, but are now almost empty.

A museum has been built at the base, now named Xihai Township, where old telegraphs, telephones, machines, clothes, bowls and food coupons belonging to the people who worked at the base are exhibited.

Hotels and restaurants are also being built in the township.

Last year, the government allocated 93 million yuan (11.6 million U.S. dollars) to better preserve the base.

The money was spent on building exhibition halls, renovating buildings and improving the natural environment, according to the Qinghai Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau.

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours