Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP)

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Last Updated: September 29, 2011
Other Name: 中国工程物理研究院; Ninth Academy; Science City; Zitong Facility; Mianyang Facility; “The Los Alamos of China”
Location: Mianyang, Sichuan Province
Subordinate To: General Armaments Department (GAD) [1]
Size: Over 8,000 employees
Facility Status: Operational

The Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP) is a technology complex responsible for the research, development and testing of China’s nuclear weapons. [2] CAEP consists of eleven compartmentalized institutes, eight of which are located in or concentrated around Mianyang, Sichuan Province. [3] Institute 905 and the Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Mathematics are located outside of Mianyang. Built in the 1960s as the “Third Line” [4] duplicate to the Ninth Academy, CAEP now conducts all work of the original facility, Haiyan’s Northwest Nuclear Weapons Research and Design Academy (now shut down). [5]

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security includes the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics on its Entity List as requiring “an export license for all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations before allowing shipments to these end users because of risk of diversion to prohibited proliferation activities.” The list also includes the following “aliases” in its May 2012 update: [6]

  • Ninth Academy
  • Southwest Computing Center
  • Southwest Institute of Applied Electronics
  • Southwest Institute of Chemical Materials
  • Southwest Institute of Electronic Engineering
  • Southwest Institute of Environmental Testing
  • Southwest Institute of Explosives and Chemical Engineering
  • Southwest Institute of Fluid Physics
  • Southwest Institute of General Designing and Assembly
  • Southwest Institute of Machining Technology
  • Southwest Institute of Materials
  • Southwest Institute of Nuclear Physics and Chemistry (a.k.a., China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP)'s 902 Institute)
  • Southwest Institute of Research and Applications of Special Materials Factory
  • Southwest Institute of Structural Mechanics
  • Chengdu Electronic Science and Technology University (CUST)
  • The High Power Laser Laboratory, Shanghai
  • The Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Mathematics, Beijing
  • University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (No. 4, 2nd Section, North Jianshe Road, Chengdu, 610054); and 901 Institute, P.O. Box 523, Chengdu, 6100003
  • 901 Institute (P.O. Box 523, Chengdu, 6100003)
  • Chitron Electronics Company Ltd, a.k.a., Chi-Chuang Electronics Company Ltd.

[1] Nikolai N. Sokov, Jing-dong Yuan, William C. Potter, and Cristina Hansell, “Chinese and Russian Perspectives on Achieving Nuclear Zero,” in Cristina Hansell and William C. Potter, eds., Occasional Paper No. 15 Engaging China and Russia, on Nuclear Disarmament (Monterey, CA: Monterey Institute of International Studies, 2009), p. 20,
[2] Robert Norris, Andrew S. Burrows and Richard Fieldhouse, Nuclear Weapons Databook, Volume 5 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), p. 348.
[3] Rodney Jones and Mark G. McDonough, Tracking Nuclear Proliferation (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1998), p. 65.
[4] China’s “Third Line” Facilities refer to redundant facilities that were established beginning in the mid-1960s in the interior of China as a protection against foreign attack.
[5] Robert Norris, Andrew S. Burrows and Richard Fieldhouse, Nuclear Weapons Databook, Volume 5 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), p. 339.
[6] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, “Addition of Persons Acting Contrary to the National Security or Foreign Policy Interests of the United States to the Entity List; and Implementation of Additional Changes From the Annual Review of the Entity List,” Federal Register, 14 May 2012,

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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.