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World How to Tell If North Korea Is About to Test a Nuclear Bomb

21:53  05 december  2017
21:53  05 december  2017 Source:   bloomberg.com

Aftershocks likely from September test detected from North Korea nuclear site: USGS

  Aftershocks likely from September test detected from North Korea nuclear site: USGS Two minor tremors were detected on Saturday from near North Korea's nuclear test site and were probably aftershocks from the country's massive nuclear test in early September, a U.S. Geological Survey official said. The aftershocks, of magnitude 2.9 and 2.4, were detected at 0613 and 0640 GMT (1:13 a.m. and 1:40 a.m. EST) respectively, said the USGS and Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.A tweet from Zerbo said analysts had confirmed that the activity was "tectonic" in origin.

When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. 3, one man wasn’t fazed. Almost 6,000 miles (9,650 In experts’ crosshairs is Punggye-ri, an active test site built in a secluded mountain valley northeast of Pyongyang. The area, the site for all six of North

When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. 3, one man wasn’t fazed. Almost 6,000 miles (9,650 kilometers) from Pyongyang, in Colorado, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. has for years watched the isolated regime’s nuclear testing facility

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North Korea: Trump is 'begging for nuclear war'

  North Korea: Trump is 'begging for nuclear war' US President Donald Trump and his administration are "begging for nuclear war," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday. Trump is "staging an extremely dangerous nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a written statement that also calls Trump a "nuclear demon" and a "disruptor of global peace." The comments came ahead of a joint US-South Korean military drill, scheduled to begin Monday. About 12,000 US military personnel and 230 planes are expected to participate in the drill, known as Vigilant Ace. North Korean officials made similar comments last month.

When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. “We knew at the beginning of the year that they would test ,” said Bermudez, who writes assessments for the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies’ North Korea website known as 38

When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. “Are they showing us this to basically threaten How To Tell Whether North Korea Really Tested an H- Bomb - www.popularmechanics.com. Nuclear Forensics: How Scientists Can Tell Whether North

When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. 3, one man wasn’t fazed.

Almost 6,000 miles (9,650 kilometers) from Pyongyang, in Colorado, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. has for years watched the isolated regime’s nuclear testing facility, peering at blobs and shadows on high-resolution satellite images.

Slight changes — movements of vehicles, equipment and people at the mountain fortress — matter. From February, Bermudez and his colleagues spotted activity at one of the three main tunnels leading to underground testing bunkers.

“We knew at the beginning of the year that they would test,” said Bermudez, who writes assessments for the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies’ North Korea website known as 38 North. “So when that day came, in fact my reaction was, ‘oh, they finally tested.’”

North Korea may announce completion of nuclear program within a year: South Korea minister

  North Korea may announce completion of nuclear program within a year: South Korea minister North Korea may announce the completion of its nuclear program within a year, South Korea's unification minister said on Tuesday, as the isolated country is moving more faster than expected in developing its weapons arsenal. "Experts think North Korea will take two to three more years but they are developing their nuclear capabilities faster than expected and we cannot rule out the possibility Pyongyang may declare the completion of their nuclear program in a year," said Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon at a media event in Seoul.

(TNS) — When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. 3, one man wasn’t fazed. Almost 6,000 miles from Pyongyang, in Colorado, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. has for years watched the isolated regime’s nuclear testing facility, peering at blobs and shadows

When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. North Korean soldiers attend a mass rally to celebrate the country's Nov. 29 declaration that it had achieved full nuclear statehood, in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square on Friday. |

That blast, the regime’s most powerful detonation to date, was another step in its efforts to acquire the ability to hit the continental U.S. with a nuclear-tipped warhead. Alongside the atomic program, leader Kim Jong Un has this year launched a succession of ballistic missiles, each flying farther or higher than the last.

Kim’s actions have also set off a tense war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump, who is exasperated by the regime’s dogged pursuit of nuclear weapons in the face of global sanctions and condemnation. With Trump threatening to attack North Korea if provoked, parsing the regime’s actions has become ever-more important.

Bermudez is one of a handful of analysts in the U.S. and Asia who peer into Kim’s backyard on a daily basis, poring over commercial satellite images and other data. In such a volatile environment, their assessments can help temper fears or keep in check speculation sparked by North Korea’s relentless propaganda machinery, with its fiery pledges to annihilate the U.S.

A look at this year's North Korean nuclear and missile tests

  A look at this year's North Korean nuclear and missile tests North Korea on Wednesday ended its longest pause in missile tests this year with what appeared to be its most powerful version yet of an intercontinental ballistic missile meant to target the United States. It was North Korea's 20th launch of a ballistic missile this year and likely its third successful test of an ICBM following two launches in July. The launch adds to fears that the North will soon have a military arsenal that can viably target the U.S. mainland.A look at some of the significant nuclear and missile tests by North Korea this year:___FEB.

(BLOOMBERG) - When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept 3, one man wasn't fazed. Almost 6,000 miles (9,650km) from Pyongyang, in Colorado, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr has for years watched the isolated regime's nuclear testing facility

How To Tell Whether North Korea Really Tested an H- Bomb - www.popularmechanics.com. Nuclear Forensics: How Scientists Can Tell Whether North When North Korea unleashed an earth-shaking nuclear bomb of as much as 250 kilotons on Sept. “Are they showing us this to basically threaten

“Typically what we’ve identified is that prior to a test, they conduct some additional excavation in the tunnels,” said Bermudez. “They move more equipment in and you see more people moving around.”

In experts’ crosshairs is Punggye-ri, an active test site built in a secluded mountain valley northeast of Pyongyang. The area, the site for all six of North Korea’s nuclear blasts, has a “virtually infinite amount of space” for underground testing and its granite bedrock is ideal for containing large explosions, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

Examined over time, a picture emerges of what normal or suspicious activity at Punggye-ri looks like. One ominous sign is when the bustle grinds to a halt: Vehicles, troops and workers withdraw and the site appears “tidier.”

“That is often an indicator that things have been buttoned down and they’re ready to do something and they’re just waiting,” said Jack Liu, a defense technology expert with 38 North.

White House says not right time for N. Korea talks, despite Tillerson overture

  White House says not right time for N. Korea talks, despite Tillerson overture No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday."Given North Korea's most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time (for negotiations)," the White House National Security Council spokesman told Reuters.

North Korea ’s nuclear test created tremors around the world. “From the seismic signal alone it’s not possible to tell the difference between a conventional atomic explosion and a hydrogen bomb , but when it’s as large as this one, the credibility of the claim that it ’s an H- bomb increases dramatically

North Korea claimed that its January 2016 test was of a hydrogen bomb . But experts cast doubt on the claim given the size of the explosion registered. There is no consensus on exactly where North Korea is in terms of miniaturising a nuclear device so that it can be delivered via a missile.

The explosion site can be primed well before Kim orders a detonation. North Koreans dig tunnels far in advance and can detonate at any time, said Lewis.

For North Korea watchers, the quality of pictures is crucial. The highest commercially available resolution is 30 centimeters per pixel, which is enough to distinguish buildings, roads, military equipment, and the color of vehicles. It is not detailed enough to see people’s faces.

Images can be bought from companies including U.S.-based DigitalGlobe and France’s Airbus Defence and Space, whose satellites take images of every inch of the planet multiple times a day for use in activities such as mapping, disaster monitoring and national security. The images are so large and contain data such as coordinates, heat signatures and topography, that they can take hours to download and require special software to process.

Startups such as Planet Labs, which is based in San Francisco and has nearly 200 satellites in orbit, offer image resolutions of up to 80 centimeters per pixel. Punggye-ri, naval shipyards and the Yongbyon uranium research facility are among the sites monitored by analysts.

Specialized sensors on some satellites paint a more detailed picture. Lewis’ team at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies has created a 3D image of Punggye-ri’s underground bunkers with help from a Japanese government-funded sensor on a NASA satellite. CNS projects the tunnels branch out from a main artery.

Tillerson: I'll keep advocating diplomacy with N. Korea 'until the first bomb drops'

  Tillerson: I'll keep advocating diplomacy with N. Korea 'until the first bomb drops' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated his stance Tuesday that diplomacy with North Korea is possible, telling a group of world leaders that he would continue pursuing diplomatic solutions "until the first bomb drops."Speaking at the Atlantic Council Korea Foundation Forum, Tillerson said that he would continue to search for diplomatic solutions with Pyongyang but stressed that Defense Secretary James Mattis is prepared should war break out.

North Korea claims to have tested an H Bomb , yesterday. CNN was broadcasting images of a mushroom How could you and I know if North Korea was testing nuclear bombs , for sure? The only way to tell them apart is to triangulate the exact location, as earthquakes only very, very rarely

North Korea has detonated nuclear weapons at least three times in the past. And the country doesn't seem to have one of those . Even if they built an H- bomb , North Korea 's engineers still haven’t tested a “re-entry vehicle” that can protect the nuclear warhead from atmospheric heat that builds up

Slideshow by photo services

Analysts also rely on years of expertise in North Korean culture, scientific papers and the subtext of the regime’s propaganda. “The dirty secret of analyzing satellite imagery or satellite data is that none of it makes any sense unless you have some cultural knowledge,” said Lewis.

Sensors picked up how Mantap, the 2,205-meter (7,234-feet) mountain where Punggye-ri is located, shifted after the Sept. 3 detonation. The force of the blast caused the mountain “to move a little bit," according to Lewis. Numerous landslides in the area were detected by 38 North.

It’s impossible, however, to predict exactly when a blow-up may take place.

“It’s not an exact science,” says Jenny Town, managing editor of 38 North. “If we see a small blob on the spoil pile on the track, we would assume it’s a rail cart. But we can’t actually verify that in any way other than the fact that’s what we would normally see there on the rail track is a rail car.”

And Pyongyang has stepped up efforts to conceal preparations, using camouflage paint, netting and decoys and doing construction work at night. Clouds and heavy rain can obscure a satellite’s view.

“When you see something you have to ask why you’re seeing it,” Town said. “Are they showing us this to basically threaten without having to verbally threaten a nuclear test?”

Still, there are things it can’t hide. Images taken days after the sixth nuclear explosion up to November showed a pickup in activity at an as-yet unused tunnel complex, which could be associated with new test preparations.

Lewis said the takeaway is Punggye-ri is constantly being prepared for tests, which shows Kim is hellbent on proceeding regardless of Trump’s threats.

Given North Korea’s firing of another intercontinental ballistic missile on Nov. 29, Lewis said the entire U.S. is already in range.

"That missile went high enough and far enough that, if it had been fired at the U.S. it could have hit Mar-a-Lago," Trump’s Florida-based resort, he said.

"It’s too late to stop the program,” he added. “The time to stop the program was 10-to-15 years ago. They’re going to have thermonuclear weapons on an ICBM that can target the United States."

With assistance from Hannah Dormido


North Korea building new missile launch pad as country celebrates 'national nuclear force' .
North Korea appears to be building another missile launch pad on the same site it used to shock the world by launching its first ICBM earlier in the year. New satellite pictures – taken by Image Sat International – show construction work at the Panghyon Aircraft Factory in North Pyongyang.The images emerged as the country was celebrating after this week's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea capable of targeting all of the U.S. mainland, potentially with a nuclear warhead.Crowds celebrated with fireworks and dancing street parties.

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