N.Korean Nuclear Test 'Within 2 Weeks'

      April 30, 2012 09:28

      North Korea could conduct a nuclear test within the next two weeks, experts warn. "The preparations are done and all it needs to do is to push the button," a government source here said. "There is a strong chance that the North will spend some time considering the timing and conduct the test in early to mid-May."

      NBC News last week also cited a U.S. government official as saying the North is likely to conduct a nuclear test in the next two weeks.

      AP cited experts at Johns Hopkins University as saying that mining boxcars were spotted moving and piles of soil building up at the North's nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province.

      This April 18, 2012 satellite image provided by GeoEye appears to show a train of mining carts, at the lower center of the frame, and other preparations underway at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, according to analysis by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. /Courtesy of 38north.org

      Experts offered similar guesses at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies’ Asan Plenum last week, where participants included former nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill and former deputy secretary to the U.S. State Department James Steinberg.

      Meanwhile, the ex-IAEA secretary general Olli-Pekka Jalonen said there is a strong possibility that North Korea will test a uranium rather than a plutonium bomb this time. According to Reuters, Jalonen said if North Korea has succeeded in building a uranium enrichment facility, it could have around 3.5 tons of highly enriched uranium.

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