North Korea remains a menace in the East Asian region as it continues expanding its nuclear production capabilities despite the neverending strong condemnation from the international community.

The latest development on “What’s North Korea’s next provocation will be?” —a Washington-based think tank, 38 North, published new satellite imagery on Saturday showing Pyongyang’s “growing activity” at its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center Studies complex in Nyongbyon County, about a hundred kilometers north of its capital.

Based on the analysis made by 38 North experts Peter Makowsky And Jack Liu on April 1, 2023. (Screengrab from Google Earth 2023)

The report came barely a week after the North’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Un ordered an upsurge production of “weapon-grade nuclear materials” to accelerate the expansion of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

Expanding its Uranium Conversion Facility

Images collected by the Washington-based think tank between March 3 and 17 indicated increased activity around the complex, particularly in Yongbyon’s experimental light water reactor (ELWR) facility, which is now nearing completion.

Work on a new support facility has also begun as traces of water charges from the reactor’s cooling system were detected via satellite imagery, suggesting that the ELWR “is nearing a transition to operational status,” it reported.