17.06.

1967: China Detonates its First Thermonuclear Bomb

1967: China Detonates its First Thermonuclear Bomb
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/One possible version of the Teller–Ulam configuration

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 17 June 1967
  • The strength of the Chinese bomb detonated on this day was 3.3 megatons, which is about 206 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The explosion occurred between the Taklamakan and Kumtag deserts, the location of a former salt lake.

On this day in 1967, China tested its first thermonuclear bomb, being the fourth country, after only the USA, the USSR, and the UK.

As is well-known, a thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb is much more powerful than ordinary nuclear bomb.

Specifically, it is powered by nuclear fusion (similar to the processes in the Sun), so it can result in an explosion a 1,000 times stronger than conventional fission bomb based only on the splitting of atomic nuclei.

The yield of the Chinese bomb detonated on this day was 3.3 megatons, which is about 206 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

It took China only 32 months for fission-to-fusion development, which was a timespan shorter than in any other country.

The device was detonated at Lop Nur Test Base in western China, far from major urban centers.

Lop Nur is situated between the Taklamakan and Kumtag deserts, on the location of a former salt lake.

It is the only area that China ever used for nuclear testing and 45 nuclear tests have been conducted there so far.

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