On October 16, 1964 at 07:00 GMT, China became the fifth nuclear power. From this date China showed the World that it was capable of build nuclear devices in an autonomous way. The test was called “Nuclear Test 596” and was the first test carried out by China. In 1955 China made the decision to provide itself with nuclear weapons, and for this task, received Soviet assistance until mid-1959. It took 4 years to prepare the test site, and the test was baptized as “596” because it was the year, 59, and the month, 6, when the Soviet Union stopped providing assistance due to political problems. The device was of fission type, it weighed 1,550kg and it was composed by an Uranium-235 implosion mechanism that was installed in a tower of 102 meters height in a Test site located in Lop Nur, that from that day onwards, was the only place where all Chinese nuclear tests have been carried out. Eight months later, China developed its first free-fall nuclear bomb. One year after the “596” test, China mounted nuclear warheads on medium-range missiles and a little later China developed its first Hydrogen bomb.

NUCLEAR TEST 596 gallery and more info


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin



Atmospheric test


October 16, 1964 at 07:00 GMT

Missile/bomb weight

1,550 kg

Warhead, (explosive charge)

Fissile material: Uranium 235 – Type: fission implosion device

Yield, (maximum)

22 Kilotons