The Worlds Largest Nuclear Weapons Test Site

Located in Malan, Xinjiang Autonomous Region. (between 87.12E/42.14N and 87.52E/42.15N). Location of China’s single nuclear weapons test site. Under the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND) with close ties to the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). Established on 16 October 1959. Construction began on 1 April 1960. On 21 November 1958, Soviet advisers recommended the location after joint surveys of several areas. Contains nuclear testing and missile impact sites. Between 1964 and 1996, China conducted 45 nuclear tests at Lop Nor.

The test site is the world’s largest, occupying an area of over 100,000 sq km, with over 2,000 km of highways. Commercial satellite imagery shows that about 20,000 sq km have been used for testing. No duplicate facility was ever built under the “Third Line.” Also the site for China’s nuclear weapons training. Possibly also the location of a nuclear weapons stockpile. The headquarters of the test base is in Malan, about 125 km northwest of Qinggir.

Lop Nor contains four testing zones, three for underground testing and one for atmospheric. Only two of the zones are currently used, which occupy an area of about 200 sq km.

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