- On the day of its first nuclear test on October 16, 1964, China declared it “will never at any time or under any circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons.”
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The United States was the first country to manufacture nuclear weapons and is the only country to have used them in combat, with the separate bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Before and during the Cold War, it conducted over one thousand nuclear tests and tested many long-range nuclear weapons delivery systems.
- 16 July 1945
- 23 September 1992
- 1 November 1952
- 21 October 1939
Jul 12, 2021 · The United States conducted the first above-ground nuclear weapon test in southeastern New Mexico on July 16, 1945. Between 1945 and 1963, hundreds of above-ground blasts took place around the world. Over time the number and size (or yield) of these blasts increased, especially in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
- Types of Nuclear Tests
- Nuclear Testing 1945–2009
- Breaking The de Facto Moratorium
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Nuclear explosions have been detonated in all environments: above ground, underground and underwater. Bombs have been detonated on top of towers, onboard barges, suspended from balloons, on the earth's surface, underwater to depths of 600m, underground to depths of more than 2,400m and in horizontal tunnels. Test bombs have been dropped by aircraft and fired by rockets up to 200 miles into the atmosphere.
The beginning of the nuclear era
The United States launched the Nuclear Age in the pre-dawn hours of 16 July 1945 when it detonated a 20-kiloton atomic bomb code-named ”Trinity“ at Alamogordo, New Mexico. While the Alamogordo test demonstrated many of the explosion's effects, it failed to provide a meaningful comprehension of radioactive nuclear fallout, which was not well understood by project scientists until years later. The United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan towards the end of World War II: one called “Littl...
From “hot war” to Cold War
No sooner was World War II brought to a close in August 1945 than an all-out technical-industrial nuclear weapons race ensued between the two newly emerging superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Between 1946 and 1949, the United States conducted an additional six tests. Then on 29 August 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, “Joe 1”. This test marked the beginning of the “Cold War” nuclear arms race between the two superpowers. At the outset, neither the United S...
The first hydrogen bomb
On 1 November 1952 the United States became the first country to test a hydrogen bomb. The Castle Bravo test on 1 March 1954 yielded 15 megatons and was the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States. India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the first statesman to call for a “stand still” agreement on nuclear testing on 2 April, 1954. However, this did little to stop the extensive nuclear testing that characterized the following 35 years, not subsiding until the end of the...
Ten nuclear tests were conducted between 1998 and 2017: two by India and two by Pakistan in 1998 and six by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2006, 2009, 2013, two in 2016, and in 2017, thus breaking the de facto moratorium that the CTBT had established. India conducted two underground nuclear tests, code-named “Shakti (Power) ‘98”, on 11 and 13 May 1998 at its Pokhran underground testing site. In contrast to India’s initial nuclear test in 1974, this time there were no claims that these were “peaceful tests”. On the contrary, government officials were quick to emphasize the military nature of the explosions. A scant two weeks later, Pakistan reacted, conducting two underground nuclear tests at its Ras Koh range. Both India and Pakistan immediately moved to announce unilateral moratoriums on nuclear testing and have conducted no nuclear tests since 1998. To read more about the 1998 tests conducted by India and Pakistan, see The Treaty: History. The announced nuclea...
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty bans nuclear testing everywhere on the planet — surface, atmosphere, underwater and underground. The Treaty takes on significance as it also aims to obstruct the development of nuclear weapons: both the initial development of nuclear weapons as well as their substantial improvement (e.g. the advent of thermonuclear weapons) necessitate real nuclear testing. The CTBT makes it almost impossible for countries that do not yet have nuclear weapons to devel...
The Treaty has yet to enter into force
All 44 States specifically listed in the Treaty — those with nuclear technology capabilities at the time of the final Treaty negotiations in 1996 — must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force. Of these, eight are still missing: China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the USA. DPRK, India and Pakistan have yet to sign the CTBT. Otherwise, as of July 2019, 184 countries have signed, of which 168 have ratified the Treaty.
The Treaty Organization
Since the Treaty is not yet in force, the Organization is called the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Organization, or CTBTO. It was founded in 1996, with approximately 260 staff from most of the CTBTO’s 184 Member States. It is headed by the Executive Secretary, Lassina Zerbo (Burkina Faso). The CTBTO’s main tasks are the promotion of the Treaty and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force.
The nuclear weapons tests of the United States were performed between 1945 and 1992 as part of the nuclear arms race. The United States conducted around 1,054 nuclear tests by official count, including 216 atmospheric, underwater, and space tests.[notes 1] Most of the tests took place at the Nevada Test Site and the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands and off Kiritimati Island in the Pacific, plus three in the Atlantic Ocean. Ten other tests took place at various locations in the Uni
Apr 27, 2020 · On the day of its first nuclear test on October 16, 1964, China declared it “will never at any time or under any circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons.”