Former Secretly Nuclear Plant in Kentucky is Now a Tunnel Ghost Town


During the Cold War, the Clarksville facility was a part of the United States’ nuclear weapons development. It was one of the country’s 13 nuclear weapons storage sites, and it formerly housed roughly one-third of the US nuclear arsenal.

It was also a target for the Soviet Union, which put it as high as third on its list of nuclear weapons-defense targets.

Clarksville Base’s History

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (AFSWP) collaborated to create Clarksville Base in 1948. It was erected on the site of a former Army installation that was utilized as a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII.

The base was separated into two sections: the “Q” area, which housed nuclear weapons storage and assembly, and the “A” area, which had administration and support facilities.

The “Q” region was enclosed by a double fence, patrolled by armed troops, and secured with alarms, cameras, and dogs. The “A” section was less guarded, but it was still only accessible to approved people.

The site employed both civilian and military personnel who were required to follow tight regulations and procedures when handling nuclear weapons.

They also had to maintain a high level of secrecy because the base’s existence and location were secret. The employees resided in surrounding communities like Clarksville and Hopkinsville and commuted to the base every day.

The site was operational for 20 years, from 1948 to 1968, and it stored and built numerous types of nuclear weapons, including bombs, warheads, and missiles. Some weapons were moved to different locations for deployment, while others were retained in reserve. The weapons were also inspected, maintained, and tested at the base.

Clarksville Base Closure and Abandonment

As a result of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, the United States opted to concentrate and reduce its nuclear weapons stockpile in the late 1960s. Clarksville Base was one of the locations chosen for closure because it was considered outmoded and superfluous.

The installation was formally decommissioned in 1968, and the nuclear weapons were dismantled and relocated. The site was eventually handed over to the Army, who used it for a variety of reasons including training, storage, and disposal. Some of the buildings and structures were also removed, and some tunnels and bunkers were filled up.

The Army, on the other hand, did not delete or eliminate all signs of the base’s nuclear past. Many of the base’s structures and features, such as fences, gates, signs, roadways, and bridges, remained intact. Some tunnels and bunkers were also left uncovered, enabling access to the subterranean network that used to contain nuclear weapons.

The Exploration and Preservation of Clarksville Base

Many people became interested in the abandoned base over the years, especially those who were interested in history, the military, or the supernatural.

Some of them went into the base, either officially or illegally, to look around and take pictures of what was left of the nuclear plant. They found many items and relics, like records, tools, equipment, and signs, that told them about the base’s history and secrets.

Some hikers also said they heard voices, saw lights, felt shadows, and heard other strange sounds that made them think ghosts or spirits were there. Some of them thought that the base was haunted by the souls of the workers who died or were hurt there, or by the people who were hurt by the nuclear bombs that were made there.

Historians and preservationists were also interested in the base because they knew how important it was to history and culture. They fought to keep the base safe and intact because it was one of the few places in the country left of its kind.

They also tried to teach people about the past of the base and its part in the Cold War. The 101st Airborne Division’s past is told at Fort Campbell’s Don Pratt Museum. With the help of former workers and explorers, the museum made a display and a website about Clarksville Base in 2014.

People could also take self-guided walks of the base to learn more about the nuclear plant and see it for themselves.

Clarksville Base future

The Army still owns and runs Clarksville Base, and it is used for many things, like training, storage, and getting rid of old weapons. Also, entry to the base is still limited and controlled, and it is still watched. Some events and situations, like the walks put on by the museum, are the only times the base is open to the public.

People are still interested in and arguing about the base. Some want to keep it and fix it up, while others want to tear it down and build something new on the site. There are also still mysteries at the base. Some people say they have seen or heard things that can’t be explained or proven.

Clarksville Base is a one-of-a-kind spot that shows how the U.S. nuclear weapons program and the Cold War changed the world. People should remember and honor this place because it is part of the country’s history and character.


Finally, Clarksville Base is a historical site with a complicated past because it played a big part in the United States’ development of nuclear weapons during the Cold War. It was built in 1948 and was one of the 13 places in the country where nuclear bombs were stored for 20 years.

It was an important part of the country’s defense plan. International laws forced the shutdown in 1968, which was the last time it did anything nuclear.

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