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Update on North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site

By
24 April 2014


A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu.

New commercial satellite imagery indicates additional activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site probably related to preparations for a detonation. Imagery from April 23, 2014 shows:

  • Increased movement of vehicles and materials near what are believed to be the entrances to two completed test tunnels in the South Portal area. Prior to the February 2013 nuclear test, preparations appeared to peak 2-3 days before the detonation followed by the withdrawal of all equipment, vehicles and personnel immediately before the blast. Whether North Korea will follow the same timeline in 2014 remains unclear (figure 1).
  • Probable command and control vehicles intended to provide secure communications between the test site and other facilities are now parked in the Main Support Area (figure 2). (Similar vehicles were spotted in that area prior to North Korea’s third nuclear test in February 2013. See figure 3.) Also, a truck similar to one spotted in the April 19 image moving away from the South Portal area is now moving between the Main Support Area and the test tunnels.

Figure 1. Increased activity around the tunnels at the South Portal.

For all images, click to enlarge. Images © 2014 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 2. Probable command and communications vehicles spotted at the Main Support Area.

Images © 2014 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 3. Command and communications vehicles seen prior to the February 2013 nuclear test.

Image © 2013 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Reader Feedback

27 Responses to “Update on North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site”

  1. [...] Lo confermerebbe l’aumento delle attività nella base di Punggye-ri, rilevato da 38 North, sito dell’istituto Usa-Korea della Johns Hopkins University. I precedenti esperimenti sono [...]

  2. [...] Finally, recent intelligence on developments at Punggye-ri—once again broken by Jack Liu at 38North—raises the issue of whether the North might test again. In their joint press conference, [...]

  3. [...] Finally, recent intelligence on developments at Punggye-ri—once again broken by Jack Liu at 38North—raises the issue of whether the North might test again. In their joint press conference, [...]

  4. [...] test tunnels” in the southern part of the testing site, said Jack Liu in a Thursday image analysis for 38 North, an expert website that tracks weapon developments in North [...]

  5. [...] report from 38 North, the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, also confirmed increased [...]

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  9. [...] A report from 38 North, the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, also confirmed increased activity at the site "probably related to preparations for a detonation", based on satellite imagery. [...]

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  11. [...] report from 38 North, the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, also confirmed increased [...]

  12. [...] A report from 38 North, the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, also confirmed increased activity at the site “probably related to preparations for a detonation”, based on satellite imagery. [...]

  13. [...] A report from 38 North, the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, also confirmed increased activity at the site “probably related to preparations for a detonation”, based on satellite imagery. [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.