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Satellite images show activity at N. Korea nuclear site

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 28, 2012

Photo shows work at North Korea nuclear test site (Associated Press / DigitalGlobe)

Photo shows work at North Korea nuclear test site (Associated Press / DigitalGlobe)

Satellite imagery reveals an escalation in activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri atomic site in possible preparation for a third nuclear test, experts say. However, there is no clear indication from the photos when the test may occur.

The images from a US-based website highlight a chain of mining carts on piles of excavated soil. This coincides with South Korean intelligence reports at the beginning of April claiming that the North was digging a new tunnel at the Punggye-ri for the purposes of a covert nuclear test.

The US-Korea Institute at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies analyzed the photos taken between March 8 and April 18 by a private satellite operator. The most recent images suggest that 8,000 cubic meters of rubble have been excavated at Punggye-ri. North Korea carried out two atomic bomb tests at the site in 2006 and 2009.

“While it’s very clear from looking at these photos that the North has stepped up preparations for a nuclear test over the past few months, it’s unclear exactly when the blast will occur,”  Joel Wit, editor of the institute’s website said to the Associated Press.

He added that upon close examination there has been “a lot of activity at the site” where “you can clearly see vehicles” and objects being moved around. Read the rest of this entry »

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