North Korea Could Test Nukes Within Weeks: Study
Could conduct two explosions at once: authors
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 9, 2012 1:04 PM CDT
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2012 file photo released by Korean Central News Agency and distributed by Korea News Service, North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un, left, applauds with military personnel as he...   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, File)

(Newser) – Just two weeks from now, North Korea could be ready for its first nuclear test since 2009, experts find in a study. In satellite photos, Pyongyang appears to have a tunnel prepared to handle such an explosion, which could help leaders save face after a failed missile launch, according to South Korea. The tunnel "apparently has been under construction since 2009 and significant activity was reported at the tunnel site after the failed April space launch," the study notes. It would be the first test under Kim Jong Un, Bloomberg notes.

The regime could test two nuclear explosions, one using plutonium and the other uranium, the study found. "Two detonations will yield much more technical information than one, and they will be no more damaging politically than if North Korea conducted a single test." Tests would bring the country closer to adding nuclear warheads to its arsenal, the US-based authors write, calling the resumption of six-party talks "imperative."