Photo: AFP/KCNA VIA KNS

38 North estimates that North Korea may have detonated a 250 kiloton (one quarter of a megaton) bomb during its September 3 nuclear test.

The respected Johns Hopkins University website dedicated to analysis on North Korea says this is considerably more than the previously estimated 100-120 kilotons.

“The yield of the test clearly shows North Korean progress in increasing the yields of their nuclear weapons,” said 38 North analysts Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu.

“The significance of this is that (North Korea) has the potential to dramatically increase the threat posed by its Strategic Force (responsible for ballistic missiles) as individual nuclear warheads potentially now have 10-times (or more) greater destructive power. This would allow fewer missiles to be employed to ensure destruction of a given target, and increase the target areas threatened by North Korean ICBMs by allowing a larger number of targets to be engaged with the current missile inventory,” they added.

The analysts also say the latest satellite images of the North Korean test site taken on Friday show a greater number of surface disturbances than previous tests at the location. The site now has “additional slippage” in “pre-existing landslide scars” and a “possible subsidence crater,” according to 38 North.

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