Now that the cold war is in the past, the average inhabitant of the Earth seldom thinks about the nuclear apocalypse. This, however, does not mean at all that there are no threats to civilization.
Ghosts of the Past
The best question of underground shelters was thought out during the geopolitical confrontation between the capitalists and the socialists. Every day the USSR and America were ready to start each other a deadly “nuclear game”. Many have probably heard about the Metro Metro-2 located near Moscow and the famous bunkers of the American-Canadian air warning system NORAD, which are in Mount Cheyenne. But not everyone knows about bunkers in other parts of the Earth, for example, in the Middle Kingdom. In particular, they created “Project 131”. This is a system of tunnels, built in the late 60’s – early 70’s in Hubei Province.
If there was a nuclear war, it was there that the headquarters of the Chinese armed forces command was to move. The Chinese built a system of tunnels, which had a length of 456 meters: all this cost 130 million yuan (or almost 19 million US dollars). Like many of its “sister”, the object was never completed, and in 1981 it was handed over to the civil authorities of the prefecture of Xianning. Now the pavilions of the “Project 131” can be visited by tourists, although the tunnel itself is closed and, if necessary, it can be used for military purposes.
A similar fate befell the Beijing Underground Great Wall – a ramified network of bomb shelters under the Chinese capital. Since 2000, some areas of this complex are open to visitors, although the PRC authorities support the functionality of the shelter. The scale of this structure is amazing. The length of some tunnels of the complex reaches 30 km, the depth of the course system is up to 18 m. In total, there are about one thousand air-raid shelters and bunkers under the capital: according to the creators’ plans, approximately 300,000 Beijing residents could descend underground in case of a nuclear war. Hospitals, schools, restaurants, factories – all this was in the underground city.
Project 131 / © wikipedia
The largest underground bunker in China (and sometimes the whole world) is considered to be an object known as Project 816. The interior of the complex is at an incredible 400 m depth, and the height of the reactor compartment “Project 816” is almost 80 m. It is assumed that underground facilities can withstand a close rupture of a nuclear warhead with a capacity of 1 mt or an earthquake of 8 points. The construction of the base was stopped in 1984, due to the changing international situation.
Robert Vishino saves the world
Perhaps, its role was played by growing geopolitical tension, and perhaps the mainstream in the person of the “zombie apocalypse”, but in recent years the idea of creating bunkers and shelters is being discussed more and more actively. The most ambitious of such projects in 2013 was presented by the head of Vivos, American businessman Robert Vicino. He “swung” to create one of the largest bunkers of our time, which could hold about 5 thousand US residents. Rest of the survivors must protect the huge doors, which, according to Vishino, are able to withstand a megaton explosion at a distance of ten kilometers. The complex itself was intended to be built on the site of the deep mines of eastern Kansas, formerly owned by the US Department of Defense. Earlier, the army used the premises as warehouses. Each separate bunker of the complex was designed for a family of four. At the same time, Americans could not give up their usual way of life: beneath the ground, they would have access to a dance floor, a gym, a spa, a theater, and much more. The total area of underground construction would be 609.6 thousand square meters. m. The bunkers wanted to place themselves at a depth of 40 m. Whether buyers were not found, or whether the facility was too technically complicated, but the project of the superbunker had to be rolled off already a year after the presentation.
Robert Vishino, however, this failure did not stop. In 2015, he introduced a similar idea, although inferior in scale. Now the businessman offered to escape from the apocalypse in the “Soviet bunker in Germany”, called the Vivos Europa One. Many details of the new idea are still behind the scenes. It is known, however, that the total living area of the underground facility should be more than 21 thousand square meters. Each family can receive a room with a width of 5, a height of 6, a length of 85 meters and an area of 232 square meters. meter. The total length of the rooms is 5 km. The complex will receive such vital aspects as electricity, sewage, cleaning and air conditioning. In general, the use of underground residents will be a swimming pool, a cinema hall, a lounge area, a private hospital and a small zoo. And in the former Soviet bunker they want to make a repository for DNA samples: so that life on the planet can be tried to “recreate”.
Vivos Europa One / © Vivos
One of the most famous refuges of our time is Tora Bora, a cave complex located in the Safedkhoh ridge (Afghanistan). In the mountains of Tora Bora and the surrounding Safedhokh ridge, there are karst caves that are naturally formed by dissolving limestone. Former “terrorist number one” Osama bin Laden greatly expanded and fortified the caves. Nevertheless, the “invulnerable” shelter was taken by storm in 2001 by the United Anti-Taliban Front with the support of an international coalition.
The main question, of course, can be formulated as follows: but for what in general is such a shelter necessary? The ideological inspirers of the project say that with its help it will be possible to defend themselves against nuclear, bacteriological or chemical weapons. In addition, the shelter will survive in the event of natural disasters, such as earthquakes.
The organizers of the project prepared part of the premises in 2015. The total price of the complex is expected to exceed one billion dollars. It is important to note that Robert Vishino is not just a designer or an adventurer. Previously, he had created a shelter in Indiana, which is designed for 80 people: there you can live autonomously throughout the year. The price of the “ticket” for an adult is $ 50,000 US, for a child – 35,000. In other words, to save yourself, the family needs to shell out about 135-170 thousand dollars. Vivos also helps create individual shelters. The price of one such complex is about 60 thousand dollars, and, as far as can be judged, this business is quite profitable. In any case, in the USA.
One of the projects of Vivos / © Vivos
Bunker in the rocket shaft
Survival Condo Project – this is the name of the project, created by American designer Larry Holom. Located bunker near the American town of Concordia, Kansas. Previously, there was a mine with an intercontinental ballistic missile, but now in its place is located at the depth of fifteen floors of a comfortable bunker, designed for 70 people. The structure is located at a depth of 174 meters. To make it clear, the deepest metro station in the world – the Kiev “Arsenalnaya” – is at a depth of 105.5 m.
The reinforced concrete walls of the bunker must withstand both a nuclear strike and all sorts of other “troubles”. The weight of the entrance door is almost fourteen and a half tons. An above-ground dome crowns the structure, which, although it does not save all troubles, can withstand wind force up to 800 km / h (the wind speed inside the tornado funnel is about 340 km / h). In addition to the “apartments” with all the amenities in the bunker there is a swimming pool, a library, a cinema, a hospital and a school. Having reservoirs of water, which will be supplied from underground sources, farms and powerful sources of power, the inhabitants of the bunker will be able to autonomously exist for five (or even more) years.
In the 1950s, when the British faced a nuclear war with the USSR, they decided to build a huge bunker in the county of Wiltshire at a depth of approximately 36 m. According to the plan, in the event of a nuclear strike, about 4,000 civil servants could be saved there. The length of the bunker, according to available data, is one kilometer. The facility remained secret long after the end of the Cold War – declassified the bunker only in 2013.
Life in the bunker, of course, will be very different from the terrestrial one. There are no windows, so its residents will have to “enjoy” the types of reinforced concrete walls. But the creators of Survival Condo Project tried to solve the problem by installing large electronic screens that show the views of London, Paris and New York. If desired, you can also consider nature, for example, oceans and forests or something else. For all the described facilities, those wishing to survive the apocalypse laid out from 1.5 to 3 million dollars for the “apartment”. Pleasure, frankly speaking, is not cheap. Nevertheless, today all the empty seats in the bunker are sold out. He himself is guarded round the clock by armed men, and around the perimeter of the object there are video cameras.
Survival Condo Project / © Exclusivepix
A budget option
Almost all the ideas described by us, with all their merits, are united by one drawback – price. But how to survive the end of the world to a person who does not have savings? Its solution is offered by the American firm Atlas Survival Shelter, which creates bunkers. “Shelters from $ 29,900”, says the ad.
This is a metal or plastic corrugated pipe, which is buried at a depth of 6-7 meters. The entrance is a small hatch with a ladder installed at an angle of 30 degrees. Inside there are water tanks, bunk beds, kitchen, toilet. But, in general, 29 thousand dollars – this is the minimum equipment. If the customer wants to equip the bunker, for example, a TV or a simulator, you will have to pay extra. In addition to the residential module, which provides a minimum level of comfort for several people, there is also a technical module: there is a generator and there is an emergency exit.
Atlas Survival Shelter / © atlassurvivalshelters
One of the latest films, playing the theme of underground shelters, is the American “Cloverfield, 10”. The plot of the picture is concentrated not so much on the topic of the global catastrophe as such, but rather on the complexity of the relationships of people caught in a closed space. One of the producers of this film – JJ Abrams – called him “blood relative” to the famous science fiction “Monstro”, although the plot of the films is not connected.
The capsule-refuge looks purely outwardly not very attractive. But the problem is not this: because of the very cramped conditions and other restrictions inside, to live in such a bunker will not work long. But the creation of Atlas Survival Shelter will allow to wait below the peak of the disaster the other day. If the consequences of emergency can be quickly eliminated, the bunker can save the lives of family members.
By the way, Atlas Survival Shelter also produces more sophisticated shelters, but their cost will be incomparably higher than the budget option itself. The company itself claims that it has orders for a very long time, which once again shows that the security issue is very relevant even in our conditionally “peaceful” time.
Now there is a whole subculture of “survivors”, or “surfing” (from English survive – to survive). Another name for these people is “preppers” (from English prepare – to prepare). In specially created closed communities in social networks, they actively discuss possible scenarios of the end of the world. If you believe the reports, many wealthy “survivors” have already acquired underground structures and weapons in order to defend themselves against uninvited guests. And some allegedly even prepared the aircraft in the event of an apocalypse.
Atlas Survival Shelter / © atlassurvivalshelters
The most reliable shelter
Of course, none of the earthly shelters, no matter how perfect it is, will not provide 100% protection. Any door can be hacked, water can be poisoned nearby, and a direct hit of a nuclear warhead will at least disable part of the bunker communications. Russian scientists from the National Research Nuclear University of MEPhI and the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences came very close to solving these problems. Not so long ago they presented a project of a space shelter, which will be on … the Moon. Why is it a satellite of our planet? The fact is that there are no earthquakes or tsunamis on the moon. Premises want to build in basalt rocks under the surface of the satellite. “Even the fall of the asteroid in the case of the Moon is statistically less dangerous than on the Earth because of its smaller mass and lack of atmosphere,” the scientists say.
Moonlight shelter is seen not only as a possible hiding place for financial “tycoons”, but also as a repository for books, scrolls, art paintings and wooden products. In other words, the cultural heritage of the Earth. Moreover, the initiators of the project believe that in the largest premises of the shelter it will be possible to place basalt copies of Notre Dame, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Taj Mahal or the Egyptian pyramids.
Scientists even carried out an approximate estimate of the volume of the lunar subsoil needed to accommodate such large objects. The case for “small”: it is necessary to decide who will finance the project itself. Russian scientists are optimistic and hope that the above-mentioned rich people who are looking for a reliable shelter can fully sponsor the program. But while it seems unlikely – too high costs for the construction of the facility and the delivery there of goods and people. Only a few leading countries will be able to pull out such a “construction of the century”, if, of course, they unite efforts.
If we try to assess the situation as a whole, then one thing is clear: the creation of shelters in the event of the end of the world will be more and more relevant every year. The growth of the world’s population, climate change and resource scarcity is a real “rattling” mixture that engenders local conflicts. And it is quite possible that one of them may sooner or later develop into a global war: then it will be too late to think about the creation of shelters.