Pakistan’s May 30, 1998 Nuclear Test Site: Preliminary Findings
May 30, 1998
The following images are of Pakistan’s nuclear test site in the Kharan Desert, where it detonated a nuclear explosive on May 30, 1998. This site is located about 100 kilometers from Pakistan’s first test site in the Koh Kambaran mountain (see figure 1).
ISIS has been been studying these test sites using commercial satellite imagery and ground imagery. Information about these efforts can be found by clicking here for satellite imagery or here for other photos and images of Pakistan’s nuclear tests.
The satellite images shown below are from February 1998 and March 2000. The March 2000 photo has a resolution of about one meter, although this resolution is noticeable only in the close ups. It was purchased from Space Imaging and was acquired by the Ikonos satellite that was launched in September 1999. The February 1989 image is from the Russian KVR-1000 satellite and has a resolution of about two meters. Additional February 1998 KVR-1000 images can be found here.
The March 2000 image shows the remnants of a probable subsidence crater from the May 1998 detonation. This image also shows that additional objects have appeared since February 1998. We are unable to determine the purpose of these new structures or equipment, although they could be for a range of purposes, including drilling of new shafts. These newer activities may represent preparations for a test, efforts to be able to conduct a test in short-order in the event of a decision to do so, or activities unrelated to new nuclear testing or the May 30, 1998 test.
We are continuing to analyze these images. We seek your comments and thoughts on these images.