China to open atomic bomb site to tourists

An atomic bomb model during China's 60th anniversary exhibition in Beijing, 23 September 2009 China detonated its first atomic bomb in 1964

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China has unveiled a plan to open the site where it detonated its first atomic bomb to tourists, state-run media reports.

About 6m yuan ($960,000, £595,000) will be spent making the remote Malan base in Xinjiang region tourist-friendly, an official told Xinhua news agency.

Visitors will be able to see scientists' laboratories and a 300-metre tunnel used for air strikes.

China tested its first atomic bomb on 16 October 1964.

More than 40 nuclear tests have been carried out in Xinjiang over the decades before a moratorium was called in the 1990s.

Beijing's Tsinghua University and the local government are developing the site, located in a desert area in north-western China, Xinhua says.

Officials say that the base at Malan will be turned into a "red tourism site" - locations designated by the Communist Party to celebrate what it regards as historic events, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing.

However it is not clear how many tourists the nuclear facilities will actually attract, as it is in one of the remotest regions in the country, our correspondent adds.

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