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North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Primed and Ready

By
12 April 2017


A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu.

Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from April 12 shows continued activity around the North Portal, new activity in the Main Administrative Area, and a few personnel around the site’s Command Center.

At the North Portal, what appears to be a small vehicle or trailer is located immediately outside the entrance; the water flow out of the portal has diminished in the past 10 days; and what may be a small trailer is visible on the road south of the portal. The netting—suspended over probable equipment—south of the portal’s support building remains in place, and there has been no significant dumping of additional material on the portal’s spoil pile.

Figure 1. Vehicles or trailers are parked around the North Portal.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

In the courtyards of the Main Administrative Area, are approximately 11 probable tarp-covered pallets of equipment or supplies, a formation of personnel, and several individuals walking about. No activity of significance is seen at the West or South Portals or elsewhere in the facility.

Figure 2. Probable tarp-covered pallets and personnel are seen in the Main Administrative Area.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

A few personnel are seen moving around the Command Center Area, guard barracks and security checkpoint.

Figure 3. Small groups of people are seen in the support area of the Command Center.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 4. Individuals are seen walking near the guard barracks and security checkpoint.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Image includes material Pleiades © CNES 2017. Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image, all rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

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