Nuclear Testing Sites Around the World and Their Dangers

North Korea has announced their 3rd nuclear test which is aimed at the United States. Yea this seems like pretty serious news, but our leaders don’t seem too concerned. I’m pretty sure that if North Korea ever tried to send a nuke our way, we would immediately shoot it out of the sky and send 20 of them back in their direction. I’m not an expert on this stuff, but I don’t see North Korea attempting to blow us up any time soon. They know how terrible that decision would turn out for them.

But to hear that our enemy is testing their nuclear weapons could be very scary to some people and that is very understandable. Countries have been testing nuclear weapons since the 1940s, and no one has yet to attempt a nuclear strike anywhere remotely close to us. People should be more concerned about the environmental/health problems caused by the testing rather than actually getting bombed.


The british started testing their nuclear weapons in the 1940s. The british Isles were not suitable for nuclear testing, so they talked Australia into letting them test their weapons over there in their remote space. Two tests were carried out at Emu Field in 1953 before a move to a permanent location at Maralinga. Two major sets of tests were carried out in 1956 and 1957, one of which was the first ever dropping of a nuclear device from an aircraft.

nuclear testing



India began to develop its nuclear capability after fighting a border war with China in 1962. Pokhran, in the state of Rajasthan, was chosen as its test site in the late 1960s. Although the Indian government claimed the site was in a remote desert area, it was near a population site. Pokhran was a town with a population of around 15000 when the first nuclear test was carried out. After the tests, Radiation related illness and cancer rates had dramatic increases.

nuclear test sites


Bikini Atoll

The United States did some testing at Bikini Atoll Bikini Atoll, located in the Marshall Islands in the north-west Pacific, remains arguably the best-known nuclear test site of all time. Bikini was selected in late 1945 to be the successor testing ground to Trinity in New Mexico, where the devices dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were developed. This site is also where the two piece bathing suit got its name.

nuclear test site bikini atoll

Bikini Atoll

French Polynesia

Arguably the most controversial test site in the world, the French decision to test nuclear weapons in their remote territory of French Polynesia caused major friction with other Pacific nations, most notably Australia and New Zealand. Between 1966 and 1996, France conducted 41 atmospheric and 147 underground tests on these two islets. There were grave environmental concerns after it was revealed continued underground testing at the site was threatening to crack the coral base of the islands and release radioactive material into the Pacific. Relations between France and NZ reached a new low when French agents bombed a Greenpeace vessel in Auckland Harbour in 1985, killing one person. Observers have noted that dangerous radioactivity is still present.

nuclear test site french polynesia

French Polynesia

The most nuked place on the planet

Nevada Test Site 

928 nuclear tests were carried out in this 3500 km square area of Nevada 107 km north of Las Vegas between 1951 and 1992, more than 800 of them underground. t has been revealed that the cancer rates in the area surrounding the test site are almost twice that of the US population. A significant increase in childhood leukemia has been noted in the years following the beginning of nuclear testing. Numerous lawsuits alleging health problems have been brought against the US government since 1982. In 2009 the Nevada Test Site was officially declared the second most radioactively contaminated spot on the planet after Chernobyl. It is believed that radiation levels in some areas of the site actually exceed those present in Hiroshima and Nagasaki immediately after the A-bombs were dropped in 1945.

Nevada nuke site

Nevada Nuke Test Site

Pictures of a Nuclear Test Island

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4 Responses to Nuclear Testing Sites Around the World and Their Dangers

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow I never heard of these downwinders. Im definitely going to look into that book. Thanks for mentioning it. I would hate to live anywhere remotely close to Nevada for that reason.

    • Ed Kociela says:

      Anon: I hope you enjoy. It was a play and this is the manuscript of a family. What the U.S. government did was unforgivable.

      • breakinbadd says:

        I am going to look into this book, it sounds very interesting. Thanks for posting. Everyone will have different opions on the worst attack on American soil – but yes, the Nevada Test Site is over looked all the time.

  2. Ed Kociela says:

    The worst attack on American soil was not on Sept. 11, 2001 or at Pearl Harbor. It occurred at the Nevada Test Site during the Cold War. It created Downwinders. More than 15,000 people in the Utah-Nevada-Arizona region alone have died as a result of the poisonous radiation that fell from the sky after these tests. There were thousands more across the continental United States and into Canada, Mexico and even western Europe, who were not counted in the carnage because the U.S. government does not have enough money to compensate them for the disease and suffering it created. Read “Downwinders…The Play,” available at, for one Utah family’s story.

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