A satellite image showing a "probable volleyball game" seen at the main administrative area of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

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Satellite images show what appears to be volleyball games being played on nuclear site

Analysis suggests that the test site is ready, or that tests have been put off for now

CNN  — 

After readying a possible nuclear test, it seems that North Korea’s nuclear technicians are entitled to some downtime.

North Korean monitoring service 38 North says satellite images from April 16 show what appears to be “three volleyball games underway at different locations throughout” at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

The analysts say the games could indicate the test site has “transitioned to a stand-by status” and that personnel were “being allowed some downtime for recreation.”

Or, they say, it could be a “tactical pause” until leader Kim Jong Un gives his orders.

Just one week ago, the monitoring agency said the site was “primed and ready” for a sixth nuclear test.

38 North says this images show a "probable volleyball game seen at the command center support area" at the North Korea nuclear test site.

North Korea timeline: From Trump’s inauguration until now

No change in US analysis

US military and intelligence analysis has remained the same for the last several weeks, and concludes that North Korea is ready and capable of conducting an underground nuclear test at any time. It’s unlikely to give any warning.

Another possible volleyball games seend at the guard barracks.

Volleyball is a popular sport in North Korea and the country’s women’s national team came third in the 1972 Munich Olympics – beating neighbors and rivals South Korea to the podium.

38 North notes that satellite imagery has previously captured games in progress throughout the nation.

“Personnel playing volleyball at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility have also been identified on a number of occasions as far back as 2006 prior to the first nuclear test and more recently in February,” it said.

On April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.
Assessing the North Korean threat
02:03 - Source: CNN

The agency notes that this would be the first time that three games at the same location had been recorded.

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CNN’s Barbara Starr and Mike Callahan contributed to this report.