Ras Koh Test Site

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Last Updated: March 1, 2011
Other Name: Chagai-1
Location: Ras Koh Mountain Range, Chagai District, Baluchistan Province
Subordinate To: Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: No further tests conducted

After Pakistan's December 1971 defeat against India, President Z.A. Bhutto instructed scientists from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to begin building a nuclear weapon. [1] Following India's nuclear test on 18 May 1974, Pakistan accelerated its program. In the spring of 1976, the PAEC group surveyed the Chagai Hills region, and finding it suitable for a test, selected a site at the Ras Koh mountain range. [2]

In response to India's 11 May and 13 May 1998 nuclear weapon tests, Pakistan quickly finished preparations for its first test. [3] On 28 May 1998, Pakistan claims to have detonated five nuclear weapons at the Ras Koh Site. [4] While Pakistan claimed the tests produced up to a 35 kiloton yield, [5] the number of explosions and yields was hotly debated in the intelligence community. [6] No further tests have been conducted.

[1] George Perkovich, "Could Anything Be Done to Stop Them? Lessons from Pakistan's Proliferating Past," in Henry D. Sokolski (ed.), Pakistan's Nuclear Future: Worries Beyond War (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 1998).
[2] Jeffrey T. Richelson, Spying on the Bomb (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007), pp. 327-328.
[3] Steven Komarow, "Photos show Pakistan test site almost ready," USA Today, 27 May 1998.
[4] John F. Burns, "Nuclear Anxiety: The Overview; Pakistan, Answering India, Carries Out Nuclear Tests; Clinton's Appeal Rejected," The New York Times, 29 May 1998.
[5] John Kifner, "Nuclear Anxiety: The Overview; Pakistan Sets Off Atom Test Again, But Urges 'Peace,'" The New York Times, 31 May 1998.
[6] Jeffrey T. Richelson, Spying on the Bomb (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007), pp. 436-441.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.