US Korea Institute

Tuesday July 28th 2015
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North Korea: Sohae Facility Ready to Support Future SLV Launch; Preparations for Engine Testing Identified

North Korea: Sohae Facility Ready to Support Future SLV Launch; Preparations for Engine Testing Identified

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Tim Brown and Jack Liu. Summary Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that construction begun in spring 2015 after the earlier modification of the Sohae gantry for space launch vehicles (SLVs) has been completed. It appears that the SLV stages and payload can be prepared horizontally in a new [...]

North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Facility: Sporadic Operations at the 5 MWe Reactor But Construction Elsewhere Moves Forward

North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Facility: Sporadic Operations at the 5 MWe Reactor But Construction Elsewhere Moves Forward

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by William Mugford. Summary Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that North Korea’s 5 MWe Plutonium Production Reactor may not be operating or is only functioning at low power levels. The presence of what is likely a vehicle to transport carbon dioxide used in the reactor’s cooling system may [...]

Update on North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Facility

Update on North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Facility

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by William Mugford Summary Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that North Korea has initiated new construction at its still incomplete experimental light water reactor (ELWR) at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Imagery from May 24, 2015 shows Pyongyang is building a structure [...]

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Spring Construction and Maintenance Activities Continue

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Spring Construction and Maintenance Activities Continue

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu Summary Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that North Korea is conducting regular spring construction and maintenance activities at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site. There are no indications of nuclear test preparations at this time. Given the time and effort such preparations [...]

North Korea: New Construction at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station

North Korea: New Construction at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Tim Brown. Summary Recent commercial satellite imagery shows new construction at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (“Tongchang-ri”), specifically at the site used to launch the Unha space launch vehicle (SLV), most recently in 2012. While the upgrading of the gantry to support a space launch [...]

The Future of North Korean Nuclear Delivery Systems

The Future of North Korean Nuclear Delivery Systems

Pyongyang’s inventory of delivery systems is a key factor in considering North Korea’s nuclear future. While its current inventory is well developed, although limited to old Soviet technology only able to reach regional targets, North Korea has bigger ambitions and is seriously pursuing the deployment of more capable, longer-range, more [...]

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