The discreet early centrifuge research and development (R&D) facility, discovered using commercial satellite technology, is believed to be located inside an underground aircraft part factory, about 27 miles (43 km) from the nuclear complex at Yongbyon.
Pyongyang revealed the existence of a production-scale gas centrifuge plant at Yongbyon in November 2010, although it had been denying for more than a decade that it had a gas centrifuge program. But North Korean leaders insisted there were no other such facilities in the country.
"It is necessary to identify where North Korea enriches uranium and part of that is understanding where it has done it in the past," the institute's chief David Albright told Reuters.
According to Albright, information from defectors indicates there may be three production-scale centrifuge manufacturing plants operating in the country although their locations have not been confirmed.
Tensions have escalated between North Korea on the one side and South Korea, the United States and Japan on the other side after Pyongyang carried out a hydrogen bomb test in January and a series of missile launches. The moves violated UN Security Council resolutions, prompting the United Nations to impose new sanctions on the country.