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Up to 730 nuclear tests have been conducted
Up to 730 nuclear tests have been conducted in the past 50 years by the U.S., China, France, India, and Pakistan, a Russian Defense Ministry official said on Tuesday.

Col. Gen. Vladimir Verkhovtsev, head of the Defense Ministry Special Monitoring Service, which was established 50 years ago, said in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda daily that many of the tests registered by his agency had never been reported by the media.

The figures do not include nuclear tests conducted by Russia or the Soviet Union.

"Being a party to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Russia has access to data recorded by more than 320 stations belonging to the NTBT international monitoring system," he said, adding that his service was able to register nuclear explosions with yields of 1 kiloton and upwards throughout the world.

He said one of the service's main goals has been monitoring the implementation of international treaties banning or limiting nuclear tests.

The general said the service's own laboratories were stationed throughout Russia, mainly in remote areas such the Upper North and the Far East.

The first test of an atomic weapon took place in New Mexico in the U.S. on July 16, 1945. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the project, and the man commonly referred to as 'Father of the Atomic Bomb,' later said that the line, "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds," from the Indian sacred text, the Bhagavad-Gita, came to mind as the mushroom cloud produced by the weapon rose.

Test director Kenneth Bainbridge reportedly simply said, "Now we are all sons of bitches."

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