July 11, 2022 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun—
A high-resolution satellite image from July 3, 2022, shows the current observable status of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center, where flooding of the nearby Kuryong River and new activity is observed near Building 500—the first such activity since 2016.
June 29, 2022 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun—
Recent satellite image clearly details the current observable status of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility, where North Korea is assessed to have finished all preparations for conducting a nuclear test... A high-resolution satellite image acquired on June 24, 2022, clearly details the current observable status…
June 15, 2022 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun—
New satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility shows not only ongoing work at Tunnel No. 3, but also new indicators of construction activity at Tunnel No. 4 further north. .. This post was updated on June 27, 2021, to take into account additional imagery analysis…
May 17, 2022 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun—
A high off-nadir satellite imagery collected on May 17, 2022, provides a unique view of the ongoing activity outside the new portal to Tunnel No. 3 (South Portal) and in the main administration and support area of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site... A high off-nadir satellite imagery collected on May 17, 2022, provides a unique and current…
April 28, 2022 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun—
Recent satellite image shows indications of ongoing construction work near and inside Tunnel No. 3 at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Testing Site... Satellite image collected on April 25, 2022, provides one of the most detailed and current views of continued activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility....
February 18, 2022 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha, Andy Dinville and Jennifer Jun—
LANDSAT 7 and LANDSAT 8 thermal infrared satellite imagery in January and February show that warm water is being discharged from the 5MWe reactor at Yongbyon, confirming that the reactor and its cooling system are in operation. Thermal patterns from the same period suggests that the IRT-DPRK reactor, the Radiochemistry Laboratory, and the centrifuge plant are occupied, but not necessarily operational, and not in a state of shutdown.
December 8, 2021 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha, Andy Dinville and Jennifer Jun—
Recent thermal infrared imagery of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center show warm water being discharged from the cooling system of the 5MWe reactor and that the reactor is in operation. During the past several months, water discharge from the reactor and probable steam exhaust from the steam turbine and electric generator hall has been observed in visible satellite imagery. Through thermal imagery, it can be determined that the water that is being discharged is indeed warm water discharge from the reactor's cooling system.
November 8, 2021 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Jennifer Jun—
The Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant remains the sole verified producer of uranium concentrate in North Korea. As such it represents the foundation upon which the nation’s production of fissile material for nuclear weapons is built. Commercial satellite imagery collected from April through October 2021 continues to demonstrate that despite the absence of any nuclear testing by North Korea since 2017 the Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant remains operational, continues to be maintained, and is producing uranium concentrate (U3O8, “yellowcake”).
April 15, 2021 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha, Andy Dinville and Dana Kim—
Recently acquired LANDSAT 7 and 8 thermal infrared imagery of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center provide strong indications that during March and April 2021, activity involving the heating of buildings and operations of facility support systems had resumed at several locations.
These indications reveal clear patterns, distinct from the surrounding terrain and daily solar heating patterns, that suggest that the Radiochemistry Laboratory, its associated thermal plant, and the centrifuge plant resumed operations during the early part of March 2021 and have continued into mid-April 2021.
March 30, 2021 Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Victor Cha—
At the Yongyon Radiochemistry Laboratory, steam (or smoke) rising from any of the stacks within the radiochemistry laboratory itself is not often observed in commercial satellite imagery. However, the March 30 image shows a plume of steam or smoke emanating from a small support building in the center of the facility. This, while not an indicator of a reprocessing campaign itself, indicates that the building is occupied and being heated.