At one time the subterranean nuclear base in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality was a closely held secret.
Built to produce plutonium-239, 816 Nuclear Military Plant reopened to visitors earlier this week after one year of restoration work. The plant was taken off the secret list in April 2002.
It’s now outfitted with modern lighting and sound systems and includes a nuclear science hub.
Now equipped with modern sound and lighting systems, 816 Nuclear Military Plant, once cloaked in secrecy, looks like a scene from a science fiction movie. It includes a nuclear science center and partitions dedicated to the history and patriotic learning.
The site, located in the mountains of Fuling district, was once an industrial base for unprocessed nuclear supplies.
A small area of the building was opened to Chinese citizens only six years ago. Soldiers safeguarded the entrance, and visitors need to furnish documents to visit.
The site is now accessible to foreigners and will allow overseas partners, said Yang Yan, a site administrator. No foreigners have visited the plant.
Construction of the plant began 40 years ago as an element of the Third Front Movement, a nationwide industrial development campaign on the Chinese continent. The country spent substantially on national defense, transportation, technology industries, and other infrastructure projects in the southwest and northwest areas.
Beijing stopped the plant from producing plutonium-239 and closed the facility in 1984 when construction was almost finished.
It has never been operated or stored any type of nuclear material, Yang said. There is no danger from nuclear about radiation. It is safe to see.
The plant, with over 20 kilometers of caves, has 18 major caves and more than 130 roads, branch caves, vertical shafts, and tunnels, China Daily reported.
The biggest cave, the nuclear reaction hall, is approximately 80 meters in height and 25 meters across, encompassing 13,000 square meters, about 10 percent of the plant’s whole.
More than 60,000 soldiers labored there during the 17-year construction period. At least 100 died.
Check out this footage of the plant from Ruptly.