Inside Congress' Secret Nuke Bunker
For 30 years, this shelter in W. Virginia was ready to keep gov't running
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2011 7:22 AM CDT
A secret nuclear bunker in West Virgina was designed to keep government functioning after a nuclear war or other catastrophe.    (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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(Newser) – For more than three decades, one of America's most famous luxury resorts was also home to a secret nuclear bunker for Congress, and now NPR takes a look at the secrets of the Walmart-sized shelter surreptitiously tucked into the hills of West Virginia. It's hidden in plain sight in the middle of the swank Greenbrier Resort, encased in 3-foot concrete walls, and has a replacement House floor, a large communications center, and 1,100 beds, each assigned to a specific politician.

Even the resort historian, Bob Conte, says he didn't know anything about the shelter for years, but locals would ask him, "Why is there a 7,000-foot landing strip for a town of 3,000 people?" he recalled. The bunker was decommissioned soon after its existence was revealed in 1992 by the Washington Post, and today it serves as a tourist attraction. Of course, there is a new secret bunker for Congress, so that government can carry on after the rest of society is blown to bits, but few know where the replacement site is. "If you're a normal member of Congress, my guess is that you know nothing. You really know nothing," says the reporter who revealed the original bunker's existence.