Satellite images of North Korea’s nuclear test site may prove the secretive state is gearing up for its largest explosion yet.
The country’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, located around 650 miles north-east of Pyongyang, is North Korea’s only known nuclear test site. It’s where the 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016 North Korean nuclear tests took place, and if new satellite images are anything to go by, it will be the location of the country’s biggest blast to date.
North Korea watchdog 38 North said the photos reveal ‘substantial excavation’ at the site. In short, the deeper the tunnel goes beneath the test site’s mountain, Mount Mantap, the bigger the nuclear blast can be.
38 North reported:
The continued tunneling under Mt. Mantap via the North Portal has the potential for allowing North Korea to support additional underground nuclear tests of significantly higher explosive yields, perhaps up to 282 kilotons (or just above a quarter of a megaton).
The tunnel was the location for the most recent and largest detected test on September 9, 2016 at an estimated 15-20 kilotons yield.
With a deeper tunnel, North Korea could test a nuclear bomb 14 times bigger than the Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 killing up to 80,000 people.