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Chinese A-bomb test base opening to tourists

(Xinhua)

08:20, October 16, 2012

URUMQI, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- China is giving the public access to a deserted nuclear experiment site where scientists worked day and night more than half a century ago to develop the country's first atomic bomb.

About 6 million yuan (944,882 U.S. dollars) will be invested to turn the Malan Base in the remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region into a "red tourism" site, a local official said on Monday.

The project is being undertaken by the local government and Beijing-based Tsinghua University. Labs and dormitories used by the nuclear scientists, as well as a 300-meter anti-air strike tunnel, will be preserved, said Arken Haasmoo, an official with Bayinggolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, which has jurisdiction over Malan.

China detonated its first atomic bomb in the desert near Malan on Oct. 16, 1964. The move was hailed as being of great historic significance at a time when the country was faced with a complex international environment.

China has never used an A-bomb in an attack. The government says it has suspended nuclear weapon programs since 1996 and is committed to advancing global nuclear disarmament.
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