List of nuclear weapons tests of North Korea

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Nuclear tests
Country North Korea
Test site Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, North Korea
Period 2006–present
Number of tests 4
Test type underground
Max. yield 9 kilotonnes of TNT (38 TJ)

North Korea has conducted a total of four nuclear tests, in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.


North Korea's nuclear tests series tests and detonations
Name [note 1] Date time (UT) Local time zone [note 2][1] Location [note 3] Elevation + height [note 4] Delivery, [note 5]
Purpose [note 6]
Device [note 7] Yield [note 8] Fallout [note 9] References Notes
(1) 9 October 2006 01:35:27 KST (9 hrs)
Punggye-ri Test Site, North Korea 41°17′06″N 129°06′30″E / 41.28505°N 129.1084°E / 41.28505; 129.1084 ((1)) 1,340 m (4,400 ft) - 310 m (1,020 ft) underground,
kt [2] Possibly a fizzle. East Tunnel approximately 1 km NE from the entrance.
(2) 25 May 2009 00:54:43 KST (9 hrs)
Punggye-ri Test Site, North Korea 41°17′29″N 129°04′54″E / 41.29142°N 129.08167°E / 41.29142; 129.08167 ((2)) 1,340 m (4,400 ft) - 490 m (1,610 ft) underground,
2 - 4 kt [3][4] West Tunnel at about 1.2 km NW from the tunnel entrance.
(3) 12 February 2013 02:57:51 KST (9 hrs)
Punggye-ri Test Site, North Korea 41°16′05″N 129°04′51″E / 41.26809°N 129.08076°E / 41.26809; 129.08076 ((3)) 1,340 m (4,400 ft) - 1,000 m (3,300 ft) underground,
6 - 9 kt [3][5] Likely the test took place in the West Tunnel. South tunnel damaged by flooding in 2012.
(4) 6 January 2016 01:30:01 KST (8:30 hrs)
Punggye-ri Test Site, North Korea 41°18′32″N 129°02′02″E / 41.30900°N 129.03399°E / 41.30900; 129.03399 ((4)) underground, 7 - 9 kt [6] [7] Claimed to be a hydrogen bomb.
  1. ^ The US, France and Great Britain have code-named their test events, while the USSR and China did not, and therefore have only test numbers (with some exceptions – Soviet peaceful explosions were named). Word translations into English in parentheses unless the name is a proper noun. A dash followed by a number indicates a member of a salvo event. The US also sometimes named the individual explosions in such a salvo test, which results in "name1 – 1(with name2)". If test is canceled or aborted, then the row data like date and location discloses the intended plans, where known.
  2. ^ To convert the UT time into standard local, add the number of hours in parentheses to the UT time; for local daylight saving time, add one additional hour. If the result is earlier than 00:00, add 24 hours and subtract 1 from the day; if it is 24:00 or later, subtract 24 hours and add 1 to the day. All historical timezone data are derived from here:
  3. ^ Rough place name and a latitude/longitude reference; for rocket-carried tests, the launch location is specified before the detonation location, if known. Some locations are extremely accurate; others (like airdrops and space blasts) may be quite inaccurate. "~" indicates a likely pro-forma rough location, shared with other tests in that same area.
  4. ^ Elevation is the ground level at the point directly below the explosion relative to sea level; height is the additional distance added or subtracted by tower, balloon, shaft, tunnel, air drop or other contrivance. For rocket bursts the ground level is "N/A". In some cases it is not clear if the height is absolute or relative to ground, for example, Plumbbob/John. No number or units indicates the value is unknown, while "0" means zero. Sorting on this column is by elevation and height added together.
  5. ^ Atmospheric, airdrop, balloon, gun, cruise missile, rocket, surface, tower, and barge are all disallowed by the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Sealed shaft and tunnel are underground, and remained useful under the PTBT. Intentional cratering tests are borderline; they occurred under the treaty, were sometimes protested, and generally overlooked if the test was declared to be a peaceful use.
  6. ^ Include weapons development, weapon effects, safety test, transport safety test, war, science, joint verification and industrial/peaceful, which may be further broken down.
  7. ^ Designations for test items where known, "?" indicates some uncertainty about the preceding value, nicknames for particular devices in quotes. This category of information is often not officially disclosed.
  8. ^ Estimated energy yield in tons, kilotons, and megatons. A ton of TNT equivalent is defined as 4.184 gigajoules (1 gigacalorie).
  9. ^ Radioactive emission to the atmosphere aside from prompt neutrons, where known. The measured species is only iodine-131 if mentioned, otherwise it is all species. No entry means unknown, probably none if underground and "all" if not; otherwise notation for whether measured on the site only or off the site, where known, and the measured amount of radioactivity released.


North Korea's nuclear testing series summary
Series or years Years covered Tests [Summ 1] Devices fired Devices with unknown yield Peaceful use tests Non-PTBT tests [Summ 2] Yield range (kilotons) [Summ 3] Total yield (kilotons) [Summ 4] Notes
nuclear tests 2006–2016 4 4 1 to 10 22
Totals 2006-Oct-09 to 2016-Jan-6 4 4 1 to 10 22 Total country yield is 0.0% of all nuclear testing.
  1. ^ Includes all tests with potential for nuclear fission or fusion explosion, including combat use, singleton tests, salvo tests, zero yield fails, safety experiments, and bombs incapacitated by accidents but still intended to be fired. It does not include hydronuclear and subcritical tests, and misfires of a device which was subsequently fired successfully.
  2. ^ Number of tests which would have been in violation of the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, such as atmospheric, space or underwater tests. Some "peaceful use" cratering tests which should have been violations were protested, and later quietly dropped.
  3. ^ "Small" refers to a value greater than zero but less than 0.5 kt.
  4. ^ Some yields are described like "< 20 kt"; such are scored at one half of the numeric amount, i.e., yield of 10k in this example. "Unknown yield" adds nothing to the total.


  1. ^ "Timezone Historical Database". Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  2. ^ USGS Earthquake Hazards Program (9 October 2006). "Magnitude 4.7--North Korea". USGS. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Kalinowski, Martin (25 May 2009). "Second nuclear test conducted by North Korea on 25 May 2009" (PDF). Arms Control Wonk. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  4. ^ USGS Earthquake Hazards Program (26 May 2009). "Magnitude 4.7--North Korea". USGS. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Davenport, Kelsey (March 2013). "North Korea Conducts Nuclear Test". Arms Control Association. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "North Korean carries out fourth nuclear test". The Guardian. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "North Korea Tests Nuclear Device, Claims Successful Thermonuclear Detonation". The Diplomat. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 


  • Yang, Xiaoping; North, Robert; Romney, Carl (August 2000), CMR Nuclear Explosion Database (Revision 3), SMDC Monitoring Research 
  • Andryushi, LA; Voloshin, N.P.; Ilkaev, R.I.; Matushchenko, A.M.; Ryabev, L.D.; Strukov, V.G.; Chernyshev, A.K.; Yudin, Yu.A., Mikhailov, V.N., ed., Catalog of Worldwide Nuclear Testing, retrieved 4 March 2013 
  • Wm Robert Johnston, PhD, Johnston Archive of Nuclear Weapons, retrieved 31 December 2013