A comparison of the above photograph taken in 1986, with one taken in 1990 - see page 15 - shows that a large amount of construction work has taken place at a 'radiological laboratory' at Yongbyong, which US sources say hides a clandestine factory for the plutonium needed to make nuclear bombs.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - which has so far refused to use commercial satellite pictures to verify whether countries are obeying safeguards under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - has triggered an international crisis with North Korea by accepting US spy images as evidence that the country has an illegal nuclear programme.
North Korea has stopped co-operating with the IAEA and said yesterday it would regard the imposition of sanctions over the nuclear programme as a 'declaration of war'.
'People have almost no idea what civil satellites can do,' said Dr Bhupendra Jasani, the researcher who analysed the satellite images. 'They are now 20 times better than even a few years ago and can show an object half a metre across.' Military spy satellites used by the US and Russia can show objects as small as 20cm.
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