Work spotted on possible nuclear test in NorthFresh satellite imagery shows continued activity at North Korea’s nuclear test facilities in what could be an effort to prepare for its sixth nuclear test, a U.S. website monitoring the North said Thursday.
Commercial satellite imagery taken March 7 of the North’s Punggye-ri test site indicates activity at the North Portal, the main administrative area and the command center, the website 38 North said in a report.
“The sum of these activities supports an assessment that North Korea continues to prepare the tunnels at the North Portal for a future nuclear test,” it said.
“It also suggests that Punggye-ri is capable of handling a sixth nuclear test on short notice once a nuclear device and the associated monitoring equipment are emplaced.”
Compared with previous imagery taken in February, the new pictures show that equipment and supplies at the North Portal, which had been present in previous imagery, have been replaced by what appears to be a large shipping container or crate, 38 North said.
In addition, a pattern of tracks left by compacted snow indicates movement from the equipment and supplies storage area to the support buildings and tunnel, it said.
At the main administrative area, the imagery shows a five-meter-long truck, and supplies observed on February 18 and 21 in the northern courtyard are no longer present, 38 North said. It also said that the imagery shows the Command Center courtyard is free of snow and a single truck is present.