Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site

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Location of North Korea's Nuclear tests[1]
12006; 22009; 32013; 42016/1; 52016/9; 62017;

Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site (Hangul풍계리 핵 실험장; Hanja豊溪里 核 實驗場) is the only known nuclear test site of North Korea. Nuclear tests were conducted at the site in October 2006, May 2009, February 2013, January 2016, September 2016, and September 2017.[2]


The site has three visible tunnel entrances.[3] Based on satellite imagery, its exact location is 41°16′47.87″N 129°5′10.51″E / 41.2799639°N 129.0862528°E / 41.2799639; 129.0862528 in mountainous terrain in Kilju County, North Hamgyong Province. It is 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Mantapsan, 2 km (1.2 mi) west of Hwasong concentration camp and 12 km (7.5 mi) northwest of the Punggye-ri village. The most proximate settlement to the possible nuclear underground test site is Chik-tong, a small populated place located at 41°16′00″N 129°06′00″E / 41.26667°N 129.10000°E / 41.26667; 129.10000.[4] Sungjibaegam is a settlement located 24 kilometres (15 mi) from the tremor of the 2013 test.[5] Punggye-ri railway station is located at 41°07′51″N 129°09′49″E / 41.130833°N 129.163611°E / 41.130833; 129.163611.[6]


In January 2013, Google Maps was updated to include various locations in North Korea.[7] On 8 April 2013, it was reported that South Korea had observed activity at Punggye-ri, suggesting that a fourth nuclear test was being prepared, but the next test did not occur until January 2016.[8][9]

On 6 January 2016, North Korean state media announced a fifth nuclear test had been carried out successfully at the location using a hydrogen bomb.[10] Satellite imagery captured for monitoring website 38 North between January and April 2017 suggested that a sixth nuclear test was being prepared at the site, which was detonated on September 3, 2017.[11]

According to sources, people from the Punggye-ri nuclear test site have been banned from entering Pyongyang since the test due to the possibility of being radioactively contaminated.[12] According to the report of defectors, about 80% of trees died and all of the underground wells dried up in the site after the sixth nuclear test.[13]

2017 tunnel collapse

On 1 November 2017, Japanese TV station TV Asahi reported that according to unconfirmed reports, several underground tunnels collapsed at the test site on 10 October 2017.[14] An initial collapse was said to have killed 100 workers, with another 100 rescuers killed in a second collapse.[15][16] A 17 October 2017 study published by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University suggested the most recent test had caused "substantial damage to the existing tunnel network under Mount Mantap".[17][18] On 30 October 2017, in testimony before the South Korean parliament, the director of South Korea's Meteorological Administration warned that "further tests at Punggye-ri could cause the mountain to collapse and release radioactivity into the environment."[18] Likewise, Chinese scientists warned that if the mountain collapsed, nuclear fallout could spread across "an entire hemisphere."[18]


  1. ^ "Search Results". USGS. 
  2. ^ "KIM'S DISASTER North Korea nuclear base COLLAPSES killing at least 200 people, local reports claim, amid fears of massive radioactive leak". 
  3. ^ "Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility - Facilities - NTI". NTI: Nuclear Threat Initiative. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. 
  4. ^ John Pike. "Chik-tong, P'unggye-yok / Punggye-ri (Kilju / Kilchu / Kisshu / Gilju)". Archived from the original on 10 October 2006. 
  5. ^ "M5.1 – 24km ENE of Sungjibaegam, North Korea". USGS. 12 February 2013. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "P'unggye-yok, North Korea". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (29 January 2013). "Google Maps North Korea: Prison Camps, Nuclear Complexes Pinpointed In New Images (PHOTOS)". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Activity at North's nuke test site-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily". Koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com. 8 April 2013. Archived from the original on 17 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  9. ^ 38 North (25 June 2013). "New Tunneling Activity at the North Korean Nuclear Test Site". 38 North. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "North Korea claims Thermonuclear Test". britainscoldwar.uk. 6 January 2016. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  11. ^ Davis, William J. Broad, Kenan; Patel, Jugal K. (2017-04-12). "North Korea May Be Preparing Its 6th Nuclear Test". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  12. ^ "Nuke Site Residents Banned from Pyongyang". Chosun Ilbo. 2017-09-20. 
  13. ^ "North Korea's nuclear test site is 'a wasteland with deformed babies". The Telegraph. 2017-11-07. 
  14. ^ https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/10/31/fears-radiation-leak-soar-after-north-korea-nuclear-site-collapse-kills-200
  15. ^ "North Korea kills 200 North Koreans testing nukes". New York Post. 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  16. ^ "A tunnel collapsed at a North Korean nuclear test site, reportedly killing 200 people". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  17. ^ Byrnes, Jesse (2017-10-31). "Up to 200 killed in North Korean nuclear test site collapse: report". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  18. ^ a b c Ryall, Julian (31 October 2017). "Collapse at North Korea nuclear test site 'leaves 200 dead'". The Telegraph. 

Coordinates: 41°16′41″N 129°05′15″E / 41.2780677°N 129.087408°E / 41.2780677; 129.087408

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