The 1967 Experiment That Proved Anyone Can Design a Nuclear Weapon

On 16 October 1964, China detonated a 22-kiloton nuclear weapon device at the Lop Nur test site, becoming the fifth nuclear power state in the world and the first Asian nation to possess nuclear capability. The United States had been monitoring the Lop Nur site for some time and they were aware that a test was imminent. What worried them was the unknown. How many more nations are working on nuclear weapons without their knowledge? Which country would be next to develop nuclear weapons capability? How easy or difficult it would be to accomplish that? The proliferation of nuclear-armed states was a matter of concern for it could create an unstable and perilous world. During a 1963 press conference, President John F. Kennedy predicted that in the 1970s there would be as many as 15 to 20 nuclear powers, which would pose the “greatest possible danger and hazard.”

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