China's abandoned nuclear site becomes tourist attraction

The top-secret 816 nuclear plant is built into the world's largest artificial cave buried in the Chongqing mountains and opened for tourism in 2010.

Photo by: AFP Archive
Photo by: AFP Archive

This picture taken on February 21, 2017 shows visitors during a tour of the "816 Nuclear Military Engineering" installation in the mountains of Fuling district, in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

Tourists can now visit a former atomic bomb site that once was one of China’s most ambitious military infrastructure projects.

China 816 Nuclear Military Plant dates back to the late 1960's and only opened to the public in 2010.

The site lies at the mountainous Baitao town of Fuling district and contains nearly 13 miles of tunnel roads.

TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis has the story.

Top-secret project

China had commissioned the project to catch up with nuclear-armed cold war rivals, the United States and the Soviet Union, but after 1984 the Central Military Commission called off the project 

More than 60,000 workers participated in the project. Officially 76 people died in the process but tour guides and former workers insist the number is much higher.

The 816 nuclear plant was a top-secret project, and the construction workers were not truly aware of its purpose.

Only 85 percent of the construction was completed, while only a third of it is currently open, with other areas still highly restricted to tourists.