Update on North Korea’s Nuclear Test Site
New commercial satellite imagery continues to show a very low level of activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. Whether the level of activity indicates that Pyongyang has made all necessary preparations to conduct a nuclear test on short notice at this site or is associated with normal maintenance work remains unclear.
There is one small crate or trailer (approximately 1.9 meters by .75 meters) present immediately outside the North Portal. Otherwise, there is no readily apparent activity such as vehicles or personnel present.
Figure 1. Small crate or trailer identified, but no apparent activity present at the North Portal.
Imagery shows no significant activity such as vehicles or personnel. There appear to be several small objects in the middle of the road outside the portal in the same position as possible mine ore carts previously observed. The presence of these objects in the same position strongly suggests that they are not mine ore carts, but rather anomalies in the road surface itself.
Figure 2. No significant activity observed at the West Portal.
No significant activity is observed at the South Portal.
Figure 3. No activity at the South Portal.
Main Support Area
One small vehicle (approximately 2.6 meters by 1.3 meters) is present on the west side of the large courtyard. What appears to be a small group of people is present in the center of the yard. Three objects appear on the south side of the main courtyard in front of the long building. While objects have been seen here previously, their exact purpose is unclear.
Figure 4. Vehicle and group of people identified at the Main Support Area.
Facility Access Road
The sole access road for the facility runs south to the town of Punggye-ri that serves as the primary logistics base for the test facility. A small object (3.1 meters by 1.1 meters) appears to be present on the side of the road approximately 2.6 km south of the test facility. The resolution of the imagery is insufficient to confirm whether this is a small vehicle or an anomaly in the road surface.