Map Key

10,000 kilotons United States U.S.S.R. United Kingdom
2,000 China France India, Pakistan, North Korea, Unknown
10,000 kilotons    
2,000 United States
U.S.S.R. United Kingdom
China France
India, Pakistan, North Korea, Unknown
Showing tests performed through 1945 Start animation

Eight countries have performed nuclear tests. The United States and U.S.S.R. have performed the most explosive tests in history.

“Yield,” a measure of how much energy an explosion releases, is measured in kilotons — one equalling about the power of 1,000 tons of TNT. Both nuclear superpowers have performed nuclear tests with yields of at least 10,000 kilotons (at scale above:  ).

The United States is the only country that has used a nuclear weapon in war. Those destructive detonations — in Japan at Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and at Nagasaki three days later — were just 15 ( ) and 21 ( ) kilotons.

[A ground zero forgotten: The Marshall Islands, once a U.S. nuclear test site, faces oblivion again]

Nuclear tests throughout history, per country

Most nuclear powers have not performed a nuclear test in decades. Only North Korea has tested in the 21st century.

The United States and Russia possess 93 percent of the global nuclear warheads arsenal, according to Federation of American Scientists estimates. Both countries each have several thousand “retired” warheads awaiting dismantlement.

Chart key

Number of nuclear tests that year

Estimated nuclear stockpile

United States

1,032 total tests

The United States

heavily reduced its nuclear

stockpile in the early 1990s.

96 nuclear tests in 1962.

31,255

warheads

1945

1992

The U.S.S.R.’s stockpile peaked in 1986 at 40,159 warheads.

U.S.S.R.

715

1949

1990

U.S., U.S.S.R. and U.K. temporarily agree to stop all nuclear testing.

United Kingdom

45

1952

1991

France

198

1960

1996

China

45

1964

1996

India

3

1998

1974

Pakistan

2

1998

North Korea

5

2006

2016

North Korea’s recent tests have been

heavily condemned.

Chart key

Number of nuclear tests that year

Estimated nuclear stockpile

United States

The United States performed

96 nuclear tests in 1962.

The United States heavily reduced its nuclear stockpile in the early 1990s.

1,032 total tests

31,255 warheads

1945

1992

U.S.S.R.

The U.S.S.R.’s stockpile peaked

in 1986 at 40,159 warheads.

715

1949

1990

U.S., U.S.S.R. and U.K. temporarily agree

to stop all nuclear testing.

United Kingdom

45

1952

1991

France

198

1960

1996

China

45

1964

1996

India

3

1998

1974

Pakistan

2

1998

North Korea’s recent tests have been

heavily condemned.

North Korea

5

2006

2016

Chart key

Number of nuclear tests that year

Estimated nuclear stockpile

The United States performed

96 nuclear tests in 1962.

“Castle Bravo,” the

most powerful test in

U.S. history, takes place.

The United States heavily reduced its nuclear stockpile in the early 1990s.

31,255 warheads

United States

1,032 total tests

1945

1992

The U.S.S.R.’s stockpile peaked

in 1986 at 40,159 warheads.

U.S.S.R.

715

1949

1990

U.S., U.S.S.R. and U.K. temporarily agreed

to stop all nuclear testing.

United Kingdom

45

1952

1991

France

198

1960

1996

China

45

1964

1996

India

3

1998

1974

Pakistan

2

1998

North Korea’s recent tests have been

heavily condemned.

North Korea

5

2006

2016

Chart key

Number of nuclear tests that year

Estimated nuclear stockpile

United States

1,032 total tests

The United States

heavily reduced its nuclear

stockpile in the early 1990s.

96 nuclear tests in 1962.

31,255

warheads

1945

1992

The U.S.S.R.’s stockpile peaked in 1986 at 40,159 warheads.

U.S.S.R.

715

1949

1990

U.S., U.S.S.R. and U.K. temporarily agree to stop all nuclear testing.

United Kingdom

45

1952

1991

France

198

1960

1996

China

45

1964

1996

India

3

1998

1974

Pakistan

2

1998

North Korea

5

2006

2016

North Korea’s recent tests have been

heavily condemned.

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