Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: New Activity at the Command Center Area

Commercial imagery from May 4, 2022 reveals renewed activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site’s Command Center area.

The Command Center area is a secured facility connected to the main road (that leads to the test tunnel area) by a branch road and bridge. The bridge was damaged during floods in 2020 and only recently repaired, allowing for vehicle passage to this part of the test complex.

Figure 1. Overview of Command Center area on May 4, 2022.

Image © 2022 Planet Labs, PBC cc-by-nc-sa 4.0. For media licensing options, please contact [email protected].

The secure compound consists of a two-story headquarters building and a one-story building with a blue roof. Both buildings are covered in camouflage despite the bright coloring of the one-story building. On May 4, a cargo truck is observed parked in front of the headquarters building for the first time since the refurbishment of Test Tunnel No. 3 began.

Figure 2. Cargo truck parked outside of headquarters building on May 4, 2022.

Image Pleiades NEO © CNES 2022, Distribution Airbus DS. Image © 2022 Planet Labs, PBC cc-by-nc-sa 4.0. For media options, please contact [email protected]

Vehicles and vehicle tracks have been observed moving between the tunnel area and the southern support area since at least January 2022. Between the recent bridge repairs, other road improvements and the continued construction and excavation around Tunnel No. 3, North Korea appears to have long-term plans for the test site.

Figure 3. Activity around Tunnel No. 3 on April 27, 2022.

Image Pleiades Neo © Airbus DS 2022. For media options, please contact [email protected].


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