In 2068, before a nuclear war starts, a company backed by the federal government decides to build a bunch of shelters to protect some of the population from the coming apocalypse.

My question is how much would it cost to build all these shelters.

To start with, each shelter is built three feet underground with reinforced concrete and is powered by a thorium reactor which is maintained by the inhabitants.

The shelters are all very big, about 75,000 square feet of room. There are about a thousand rooms big enough to house 6 people comfortably. Each room contains 4 beds and some extra closet space.

All the people share 15 large public washrooms that all the inhabitants share together. There are 6 large cafeterias connected to the greenhouses the grow all the food.

They keep livestock like sheep, cattle, chickens pigs, and some horses. They have a large vault of cryogenically frozen seeds to plant after they get out.

They also have a large armory with enough weapons like laser rifles, body armor, and energy grenades to supply an army of 1,000 people. And to train people, they have simulations of the outside world to prepare them.

There are hospitals with all the latest gear to treat people if illnesses, and a vast storage facility to keep everything they’ll need to survive. They have water purification machines, water tablets, and life straws.

Also, they keep lots of power tools like drills and chainsaws and weaving looms. To help grow the population each couple is expected to have at least 3 kids. When they reach the age of four, they are taken to a development center where they are taught reading, writing, history, science, and mathematics. They are there four 12 years until they graduate.

There is a library containing nearly every book in digital storage. There is also a fairly large hospital and a radio for communicating with others.

The shelter also provides clothing of blacks turtlenecks, black pants, and grey hiking boots for men and light green skirts and gold sandals for women. So how much would all this cost to build? I expect it to be somewhere in the 100s of trillions of dollars, what do all you say

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if this qualifies as a worldbuilding question (it's technically present-day with no world-rules), but the formatting is, frankly, unacceptable. Wall-of-text will get downvotes and close votes. Paragraphs are very much your friend. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 21 '18 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Not quite modern world. They have energy and laser weapons but not conventional guns so are presumably near future. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Jan 21 '18 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ All of these for just 6 people? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 21 '18 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch: I read this as meaning each room (of the "about thousand") can "house 6 people comfortably"... but You are right all the same. OP is speaking about "grow the population", so the "rooms" are presumably inhabited by a single family, at least at beginning, giving an initial population of about 2k. This is far too low to give a stable community both for genetic variety and competence completeness. OP doesn't state how much time people is supposed to remain in these shelters (long, since we speak about generations); having some drilling equipment to allow growth is sourly needed ;) $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Jan 21 '18 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ @ZioByte I believe you can have a genetically stable population with 500 people if you are careful about who breeds with who.I believe it is technically possible with less than 200 people but that is more difficult and possibly not sustainable long term. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Jan 21 '18 at 14:29

I do not believe that your specifications are reasonable. 12.5 square feet per person may be enough for days or months, but not for years. The Greenbrier site had about 100 square feet per person. Notably, your bunker will not be enough for greenhouses/hydroponics.

Assuming it can be done, $1,000,000,000,000 for one shelter (i.e. 100s of trillions for 100s of shelter) seems excessive.

  • You need the earthmoving and concrete. Look at the Maginot line as a very rough benchmark. It cost about 3 billion francs. Purchasing power conversions are notoriously difficult, but call it a couple billion dollars in today's cost.
  • You need the life support. Biosphere 2 was about $200,000,000 for eight people. Scaling up would get you into the trillion-per-site ballpark if there are no economies of scale, but this is a much "nicer" environment than you describe.

The Empire State Building is about 424 by 187 feet, or 79,288 square feet. As such, its basement is roughly the size you describe. The entire building only cost \$24,718,000 in 1931, which would be about \$400 million in 2017.

One estimate of the cost to build a thorium reactor is \$200 million.

There's no good way of estimating the costs of things like laser rifles and energy grenades. But even if we throw out a number like \$400 million, that's still only \$1 billion total. So for 100, we'd still be at \$100 billion. Even if we double or quintuple that, we're still under a trillion total.

The shelters are all very big, about 75,000 square feet of room. There are about a thousand rooms big enough to house 6 people comfortably.

So a thousand, 8x9 rooms (75 square feet each). Each 8x9 room is supposed to contain four beds and some closet space. But this leaves no extra space for greenhouses, cafeterias, hospitals, storage, or hallways.

75,000 square feet is simply not that big. It's basically one floor of a skyscraper. The place that you describe is much bigger than that. Cows in a greenhouse? That place would be huge. Grazing for two cows is roughly the size of your entire building, and that assumes that you are augmenting their feed with corn or some other food. On the bright side, you can rotate other animals through the same pasture.


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