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On July 31, 1954, it was decided to build a nuclear test site on the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic. Novaya Zemlya was the site of the October 30, 1961 explosion of Tsar Bomba, the largest, most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated.
The testing activities were a sensitive military area during the Cold War years, but became public knowledge in the end of the 1980's.
Images of the archipelago in this photo gallery by ITAR-TASS.