Significant tunneling detected at N. Korea's nuclear test site: 38 North

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-01-12 08:45 Updated : 2018-01-12 08:45
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SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Aju News) -- Satellite imagery showed that North Korea has stepped up tunnel excavation for future nuclear testing at its test site near the border with China, according to 38 North, the website of a U.S. research institute.

The North Portal, where North Korea has conducted the last five nuclear tests, remained dormant, but tunnel excavation has been stepped up at the West Portal, 38 North said.

Throughout December last year, mining carts and personnel were consistently present around the West Portal, the website said. "There was significant expansion of the spoil pile," it said, adding personnel of up to 120 were observed in seven different formations in the southern support area on December 28.

"These activities underscore North Korea’s continued efforts to maintain the Punggye-ri site’s potential for future nuclear testing," it said.

The North's nuclear test on September 3 triggered post-test earthquakes in the Punggye-ri site. Despite concerns that another powerful detonation could trigger a leak of radioactive materials, North Korea has expanded the site's potential for nuclear testing.