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The Nuclear Testing Tally

Press Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

Updated: February 2013

Since the first nuclear test explosion on July 16, 1945, at least eight nations have detonated 2,053 nuclear test explosions at dozens of test sites from Lop Nor in China, to the atolls of the Pacific, to Nevada, to Algeria where France conducted its first nuclear device, to western Australia where the U.K. exploded nuclear weapons, the South Atlantic, to Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, across Russia, and elsewhere.

Most of the test sites are in the lands of indigenous peoples and far from the capitals of the testing governments. A large number of the early tests-- 528 -- were detonated in the atmosphere, which spread radioactive materials through the atmosphere. Many underground nuclear blasts have also vented radioactive material into the atmosphere and left radioactive contamination in the soil.

Through nuclear test explosions, the testing nations have been able to proof-test new warhead designs and create increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons. In 1996, negotiations on a global Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) were concluded and the treaty was opened for signature on September 24, 1996. The CTBT, which prohibits "any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion" and established a international test monitoring and verification system, has not yet entered into force.

 

United States (1,030)
First tested: July 16, 1945.
Last tested: Sept. 23, 1992.
Signed CTBT: Sept. 24, 1996.

USSR/Russia (715 tests)
First tested: Aug. 29, 1949.
Last tested: Oct. 24, 1990.
Deposited CTBT Ratification: June 30, 2000..

United Kingdom (45 tests)
First tested: Oct. 3, 1952.
Last tested: Nov. 26, 1991.
Signed CTBT: Sept. 24, 1996.
Deposited CTBT Ratification:
Apr. 6, 1998.

France (210 tests)
First tested: Feb. 13, 1960.
Last tested: Jan. 27, 1996.
Signed CTBT: Sept. 24, 1996.
Deposited CTBT Ratification:
Apr. 6, 1998.

China (45 tests)
First tested: Oct. 16, 1964.
Last tested: July 29, 1996.
Signed CTBT: Sept. 24, 1996.

India (3 tests1)
First tested: May 18, 1974.
Last tested: May 13, 1998.
Not a CTBT signatory.

Pakistan (2 tests1)
First tested: May 28, 1998.
Last tested: May 30, 1998.
Not a CTBT signatory.

North Korea (3 tests)
First tested: Oct. 9, 2006.
Last tested: Feb 12, 2013.
Not a CTBT signatory.

Year United States USSR/ Russia United Kingdom France China India Pakistan North Korea Total
1945 1 1
1946 2 2
1947 0 0
1948 3 3
1949 0 1 1
1950 0 0 0
1951 16 2 18
1952 10 0 1 11
1953 11 5 2 18
1954 6 10 0 16
1955 18 6 0 24
1956 18 9 6 33
1957 32 16 7 55
1958 77 34 5 116
1959 0 0 0 0
1960 0 0 0 3 3
1961 10 59 0 2 71
1962 96 79 2 1 178
1963 47 0 0 3 50
1964 45 9 2 3 1 60
1965 38 14 1 4 1 58
1966 48 18 0 7 3 76
1967 42 17 0 3 2 64
1968 56 17 0 5 1 79
1969 46 19 0 0 2 67
1970 39 16 0 8 1 64
1971 24 23 0 5 1 53
1972 27 24 0 4 2 57
1973 24 17 0 6 1 48
1974 22 21 1 9 1 1 55
1975 22 19 0 2 1 0 44
1976 20 21 1 5 4 0 51
1977 20 24 0 9 1 0 54
1978 19 31 2 11 3 0 66
1979 15 31 1 10 1 0 58
1980 14 24 3 12 1 0 54
1981 16 21 1 12 0 0 50
1982 18 19 1 10 1 0 49
1983 18 25 1 9 2 0 55
1984 18 27 2 8 2 0 57
1985 17 10 1 8 0 0 36
1986 14 0 1 8 0 0 23
1987 14 23 1 8 1 0 47
1988 15 16 0 8 1 0 40
1989 11 7 1 9 0 0 28
1990 8 1 1 6 2 0 18
1991 7 0 1 6 0 0 14
1992 6 0 0 0 2 0 8
1993 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
1994 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
1995 0 0 0 5 2 0 7
1996 0 0 0 1 2 0 3
1997 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1998 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 4
1999-2005 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0
2006 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
2007-2008 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
2010 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 02 0
2011 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2013 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 1,030 715 45 210 45 3 2 3 2,053
NOTE

1. In accordance with the definition of a nuclear test contained in the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and to allow accurate comparison with other countries' figures, India's three simultaneous nuclear explosions on May 11 are counted as only one nuclear test, as are the two explosions on May 13. Likewise, Pakistan's five simultaneous explosions on May 28 are counted as a single test.

2. In the article "Radionuclide Evidence for Low-Yield Nuclear Testing in North Korea in April/May 2010," Lars-Erik De Geer argued that the xexon and barium isotope concentrations in air currents from North Korea in April and May of 2010 were consistent with two low-yield nuclear tests. However, this theory was largely debunked when the Earth Institute at Columbia University measured seismology records and determined that no well-coupled explosion larger than one ton could have occured during that timeframe. According to the report, such a low yield explosion would have been incapable of advancing the North Korean's technical understanding of a nuclear weapon explosion.

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