The underground nuclear test site at P’unggye-ri, Kilchu County, North Hamgyo’ng was dismantled on May 24 (Thursday) in an event covered by representatives of the international news media. According to DPRK state media, the demolition at P’unggye-ri was conducted “under a decision made” during the third plenum (plenary meeting) of the 7th Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee.
According to KCNA after the decision was promulgated, “relevant institutions including the Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK immediately stopped all preparations and projects for nuclear tests and had carried out phased dismantlement. The tunnels and all kinds of equipment, information communications and power systems and construction and operation equipment, that had been installed at the observation center, control center and research institute in the northern nuclear test ground, were dismantled and withdrawn.”
Prior to the explosion of the tunnels, the assembled members of the media were briefed about “the methods and order of dismantlement of the test ground” and they “went round tunnels where nuclear tests had been carried out in the past, tunnels ready for immediately and safely conducting power nuclear tests and the test observation centers.” The “work for collapsing all tunnels of the nuclear test ground by means of explosion, shutting down their entrances and exploding all the ground structures including the test observation centers was carried out in order with transparency.”
After the dismantling of parts of the test site, a statement of the DPRK Nuclear Weapons Institute was issued. That statement said:
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True to the decision of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK held a ceremony for completely dismantling the northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK on May 24 Chuch’e 107(2018), to ensure transparency of the discontinuance of nuclear test.
Dismantling the nuclear test ground was done in such a way as to make all the tunnels of the test ground collapse by explosion and completely close the tunnel entrances, and at the same time, explode some guard facilities and observation posts on the site.
It has been confirmed that there were neither leakage of radioactive materials nor any adverse impact on the surrounding ecological environment.
Complete closure of the area surrounding the nuclear test ground will come on the heels of successive removal of all ground observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units, and withdrawal of staff concerned.
It has been confirmed by local and international reporters that two tunnels at the nuclear test ground were ready for use for carrying out very powerful underground nuclear tests at any time.
The dismantling of the nuclear test ground conducted with high-level transparency has clearly attested once again to the proactive and peace-loving efforts of the DPRK government being made for ensuring peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and over the world.
The discontinuance of the nuclear test is an important process moving towards global nuclear disarmament, and we will continue to join hands with the world peace-loving people in building a nuclear-free peaceful world, a new independent world where the dream and ideal of humanity are realized.