Nuclear Weapons Testing


Nuclear weapons tests are experiments carried out to determine the effectiveness, yield, and explosive capability of nuclear weapons.

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion.

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Throughout the twentieth century, most nations that developed nuclear weapons tested them.

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Testing nuclear weapons can yield information about how the weapons work, as well as how the weapons behave under various conditions and how personnel, structures, and equipment behave when subjected to nuclear explosions.


Nuclear testing has often been used as an indicator of scientific and military strength, and many tests have been overtly political in their intention; most nuclear weapons states publicly declared their nuclear status by means of a nuclear test.


The first nuclear device was detonated as a test by the United States at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945, with a yield approximately equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT.

TNT equivalent is a convention for expressing energy, typically used to describe the energy released in an explosion.

Trinitrotoluene, or more specifically 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, is a chemical compound with the formula C6H23CH3.

KT, kT or kt may refer to:


The first thermonuclear weapon technology test of engineer device, codenamed "Ivy Mike", was tested at the Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands on November 1, 1952, also by the United States.

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is an island country located near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line.

Enewetak Atoll is a large coral atoll of 40 islands in the Pacific Ocean and with its 850 people forms a legislative district of the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands.

A thermonuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon that uses the energy from a primary nuclear fission reaction to compress and ignite a secondary nuclear fusion reaction.


The largest nuclear weapon ever tested was the "Tsar Bomba" of the Soviet Union at Novaya Zemlya on October 30, 1961, with the largest yield ever seen, an estimated 50–58 megatons.

Novaya Zemlya, also known, especially in Dutch, as Nova Zembla, is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in northern Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the Northern island.

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR, was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed from 1922 to 1991.

Tsar Bomba was the Western nickname for the Soviet RDS-220 hydrogen bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated.


In 1963, three of the four nuclear states and many non-nuclear states signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, pledging to refrain from testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater, or in outer space.

The Partial Test Ban Treaty is the abbreviated name of the 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, which prohibited all test detonations of nuclear weapons except for those conducted underground.

Outer space, deep space, or just space, is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth.


The treaty permitted underground nuclear testing.


France continued atmospheric testing until 1974, and China continued until 1980.


Neither has signed the treaty.


Underground tests in the United States continued until 1991, the Soviet Union until 1990, the United Kingdom until 1991, and both China and France until 1996.


In signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996, these states have pledged to discontinue all nuclear testing; the treaty has not yet entered into force because of failure to be ratified by eight countries.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments.


Non-signatories India and Pakistan last tested nuclear weapons in 1998.


North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2016.

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.


The most recent confirmed nuclear test occurred in September 2016 in North Korea.

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