Nuclear Testing Chronology

From 1945 until 1998, there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted worldwide.

Country 1945-49 1950-59 1960-69 1970-79 1980-89 1990-99 2000-09 2010-Present Total
United States 6 188 428 232 155 21 0 0 1,030
Russia/USSR 1 82 232 227 172 1 0 0 715
United Kingdom 0 21 5 5 12 2 0 0 45
France 0 0 31 69 92 18 0 0 210
China 0 0 10 16 7 10 0 0 43
India 0 0 0 1 0 6   0 7
Pakistan 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 6
North Korea 0 0 0 1 0 6 2 1 7
Totals 7 291 706 550 438 64 2 1 2,059

United States

First nuclear test: 1945
Most recent nuclear test: 1992
Total tests: 1,030 (815 underground)

The United States has conducted more tests than the rest of the world, and was the first and only country to use a nuclear weapon in wartime. The U.S. has signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but it has not yet been ratified by the Senate.

Russia

First nuclear test: 1949
Most recent nuclear test: 1990
Total tests: 715 (496 underground)

Russia was the second nation in the world to conduct nuclear tests.

United Kingdom

First nuclear test: 1952
Most recent nuclear test: 1991
Total tests: 45 (24 underground)

Britain tested its first nuclear weapon on Monte Bello Islands, Australia. Atmospheric tests were carried out there until 1956. Britain has ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

France

First nuclear test: 1960
Most recent nuclear test: 1996
Total tests: 210 (160 underground)

France conducted six controversial tests as recently as 1995-1996.

China

First nuclear test: 1964
Most recent nuclear test: 1996
Total tests: 43 (22 underground)

China is widely thought to be helping Pakistan with its nuclear efforts.

India

First nuclear test: 1974
Most recent nuclear test: 1998
Total tests: 7

In 1966, India declared it could produce nuclear weapons within 18 months. Eight years later, India tested a device of up to 15 kilotons and called the test a "peaceful nuclear explosion." In May 1998, India stunned the world when it conducted six underground nuclear tests in Pokharan, Rajasthan, and declared itself a nuclear state.

Pakistan

First nuclear test: 1998
Most recent nuclear test: 1998
Total tests: 6

In 1972, following its third war with India, Pakistan secretly decided to start a nuclear weapons program to match India's developing capability. Pakistan responded to India's nuclear tests in 1998 by announcing it exploded six underground devices in the Chagai region (close to its border with Iran).

North Korea

First nuclear test: 2006
Most recent nuclear test: 2013
Total tests: 3

On October 9, 2006 North Korea announced they had conducted a nuclear test. It is assumed this test was actually a fizzle. A second test was conducted on May 25, 2009. This test appeared to be successful. A third test was conducted on February 12, 2013.

Source: National Resources Defense Council

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National Science FoundationNational Science Digital LibraryNuclear Pathways Member SiteThis project is part of the National Science Digital Library and was funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation Grant 0434253