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Nuclear testing so secret workers didn't know

2014-10-17 07:32

By (China Daily)

Wang Suide and his colleagues did not know that they had been working on an atomic bomb project until they saw the news on TV after the test was a success.

"Every workshop was separated, some produced parts and some were in charge of assembly," Wang, a 76-year-old former soldier, told Xinhua News Agency half a century after China detonated its first atomic bomb.

Nuclear testing so secret workers didn't know

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"China exploded an atomic bomb at 3 pm on Oct 16, 1964, thereby successfully carrying out its first nuclear test," a government news release at the time said.

China became the fifth country to successfully detonate an atomic bomb, following the United States, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union and France.

Wang now lives with more than 500 colleagues in Hefei, Anhui province, where many people who worked on the atomic bomb project were relocated after the State-owned Factory No 221 under the nuclear industry ministry was shut down in the early 1990s.

"I love to read newspapers, watch documentaries and the military channel," said Wang, who also enjoys gardening.

Seventy-three-year-old Dong Dianju worked for 34 years at the atomic bomb test base that was also the location of the Factory No 221 in Qinghai province.

When he arrived with the first group of employees in 1958, "The weeds were taller than people, you could not even open your eyes when winds blew," he recalled.

Because the base was built on a plateau, residents had to wear winter coats after August. The temperature reached -40 Cin winter.

Due to the harsh natural environment, many employees left their children with grandparents.

Ren Tie, who cleaned the field after the test, was affected by radiation and lost all of his teeth by the age of 50.

Though time and distance separate the former workers from the base, they still remember their old workplace.

Dong visited a few years ago and was excited to see old buildings now serving as an education center.


Nuclear testing so secret workers didn't know
Liu Jiyang, senior engineer. [Photo/IC]

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