What's happening: It's the year 2019. Russia announces that they've developed a few 245-megaton atomic missiles and threaten to detonate one on in the USA. The American president dictator, Donald Trump, orders the red alert and starts compulsory military training to "make America big again". The Interior Minister set up the NPP --Nuclear Protection Program, which basically gives supplies to people-- in case of a nuclear war, and the TNT, Trump's Nuclear training, which threesome soldiers and hired scientists to develop long-range nuclear missiles...

I, as a wealthy person (I will invest how much will be needed), can prepare myself for this. I decided, with my family and some friends, altogether like 30 people, to make an underwater base. Since we're not the best engineers (but a friend is a programmer), we don't really know how to construct the base.

The base should be:

  • on a geologically stable place (no earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.)

  • as deep as possible (bonus for outside light)

  • far from any shore

  • not visible (including it's products) from the surface

  • usable for at least a few decades

The base should have:

  • protection against radioactive waves

  • protection as well as weapons if somebody attacked the base

  • a source of food - including all the minerals, vitamins and what not needed

  • a source of water

  • a source of air (oxygen at least)

  • heating

  • a stable source of electric power

  • fun - (video)games, toys for the kids, maybe even a copy of the Stackexchange sites - so the people inside don't hang themselves out of loneliness/claustrophobia/fear/paranoia/boredom

    And of course, the people inside should have a way of fixing stuff that break, and should have total control over the base.

Is this even possible? Do these requirements make sense? How can all these requirements be accomplished and where should we make the base? If we forgot something, please inform us.

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    $\begingroup$ @EveryBitHelps - and even then, only BLUE light makes it down that far. go beyond say 20m and you lose Red light (your blood looks green, I know I've been that deep) and at 50-ish is green $\endgroup$
    – Raisus
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:33
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    $\begingroup$ Does it have to be stationary? A nuclear sub would be my choice. Of course, getting it might be tricky. $\endgroup$
    – darthzejdr
    Aug 31, 2016 at 11:06
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    $\begingroup$ Why get politial? I come here to escape Facebook! If I was a petty man I'd downvote for harshing on my buzz. $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2016 at 14:44
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    $\begingroup$ @SteveMangiameli Indeed. I've down-voted the question until it can be divorced from politics. $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2016 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ what about calling it TNT(trump nuclear training) instead of TNP ? $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2016 at 13:27

4 Answers 4


TL/DR - Probably not to all of your specifications

There's too many variables here that conflict against each other. So let's see what is possible with what we've got.

Firstly: Geologically Stable - This is tricky. Oceans are constantly hotbeds for geological activity of some kind or another (underwater volcanism and earthquakes come to mind)

A good candidate for a start might be the Polar Ice Caps though, but nowhere near the Pacific "Ring of Fire".

Secondly: Depth - As EveryBitHelps pointed out, natural outside light doesn't penetrate far into the water and if you want a full-colour spectrum, you're limited to depths no greater than 20 meters deep, anything beyond this and you start losing Red light.

Thirdly: Distance from Shore - With such a limitation on depth you can't get any great distances from a shoreline before the water drops far too deep for this to work, so my suggestion of being in the Ice-caps (Specifically the Antarctic works here) it's far enough away from civilization as to not be disturbed by passing traffic or nuclear warheads.

Fourthly: Visibility - Again, the same as the third point is in play here, only this time you have some help from the Antarctic surroundings, as it is so remote and rarely visited, it would be easy to set up a camouflaged entrance to your underwater base in one of the ice sheets.

Lastly: Usability - Actually, this is the easiest as the Antarctic already hosts scientists in our timeline for months on end.

Your Restrictions:

  • Radioactively protected - This one's a piece of cake! Water is actually a very good shield against radioactivity on the surface. There's an image that details this, but for the life of me I can't find it at the moment.

  • Protected vs weapons - The ice makes a good shield here. It's thick enough to sustain a good protection against any attack and its distance and isolation from most inhabited lands make it difficult and nigh-impractical to attack at all. (plus for 6 months, it's very dark and freezing cold)

  • Food - Food can be grown in biospheres (similar to our current greenhouses but underwater. They already exist currently in space stations and would be easy to set up with artificial lighting as well.

  • Water - Water can either be used from the surrounding ice pack (as Ice it has very low, if any salt content) or desalinated from the surrounding Arctic (or antarctic) oceans

  • Air - If there are entrances into the base from the surface of the ice sheets, then you could also incorporate some air intakes, this, coupled with air scrubbers will ensure that your colonists won't suffocate, plus plants also need this to grow so the Food part also requires this.

EDIT: Fayth85 had a good comment about Air that I thought would be worth mentioning:

Actually oxygen is far simpler than you explain here. All you need to do is extract it from water like they do in military grade submarines. Other than that, I agree with every point. +1 – Fayth85 22 mins ago

  • Heating - This is probably the most difficult of all, being up in the Arctic regions, but geothermal vents or perhaps some kind of steam turbine could work in such an environment, especially in the cold winter months.

  • Fun - fun would have to be brought with from the outside, but it's not impossible to set up a satellite link that would provide internet for the denizens of your underwater base as well as telephone capabilities should you need to call someone

Other factors to consider:

Being underwater means dealing with water pressure and that leads to requiring pressurized metal tubes, the difficulty here being that any leak is a potential disaster, so to negate this, you either need to be able to have thick enough metal to support the pressure or a team of people who are capable divers who can repair the base from outside (Required: Dry SCUBA suits, air, etc.)

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2016 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ Satallite links in the arctic/antarctic are not very viable. Geostationary orbits are not visible from that near the poles. This forces you to make a network of non-geostationary satallites and far more complex ground antenna. $\endgroup$
    – Yakk
    Sep 1, 2016 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Yakk ... which would reveal your company has a secret base somewhere near the poles. "Our media company has heard you are launching tens of communication satellites to polar orbits. Why are you doing that?" $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2016 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ Only important and not addressed topic - is energy source $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 7, 2016 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ The OP doesn't say it has to be in the ocean. Since his context says that he's in the USA, he could put his base in the middle of one of the Great Lakes. Not only does this place it in convenient reach of very productive farmlands (and within easy reach of Canada if he chooses any of them besides Lake Michigan), but it's also right in the middle of one of the biggest reserves of fresh water in the world. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2019 at 20:11

Is that base feasible ? I'll say probably yes, but your requirements are quite hard to deal with.

First you state you need a stable area to place it. That's not that much hard to find, you just need to avoid as much as possible regions of the worlds were tectonic plate overleaps. Since there are not billions of them you just need to avoid the areas marked on such map :


It does really limit the area where you'll be able to build your base, but you'll be happy to not have to face volcanoes and earthquakes. Though there'll still be a risk, but earthquakes and volcanoes are less likely to be far away from these areas.

Then you need it to be deep inside the seas but with sunlight anyway. As stated in the comments, water stops light after some meters, thus it'll be hard to have natural light if you want your base to be deeply under the seas.

What could probably be done would be to place your base under the seas, and use a system of mirrors, or a stuff like that, linked to the base, providing lights from outside, inside your base. It would be a kind of lightwell running over a few hundred meters. Don't know how much light you could bring on like that, probably not much if your well is not located right at the surface of the sea.

Then you want your base to be far from any shore. If you can bring sunlight with a well that's not a real problem, you can find quite a lot of place in the ocean hundreds of kilometers away from inhabited islands. The main problem would be in such places your base would be located very deeply under the seas.

You also want it to be not visible from the surface ? I have a very good news for you. Modern nuclear submarines are known to be almost impossible to detect while submerged these days, they are almost noiseless, and sonar can't detect these easily (don't remember if this is due to some kind of material or just because of the said "noiselessness"). So you'll probably need your base to be build with some of these special materials used by armies and navies to build stealth tanks/planes/ships, but that's something that exists in our current state of technology.

After that you want a protection against radiation. You already got one just by having your base under water. Water operates as an excellent shielding against any sort of radiations.According to that article : https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/1336/what-thickness-depth-of-water-would-be-required-to-provide-radiation-shielding-i

only 2 meters of water are required for a good protection, your base would most likely have a few hundreds of meters to protect it. That's far enough. Though if you ask a protection to survive a direct hit from a nuclear weapon I think you don't need it : your base is stealth, so you'd probably only be hit by chance. Thus you can't do much about it.

Next point, you think your base needs weapons and stuff like that. Well you could have torpedoes to fight underwater, and some guns inside the base in case of a boarding, but to put it clearly, who would ever be in a position to assault such base ? Most likely elite commandos from a random armies, and military submarines/nuclear submarines.

In such case, your few civilians friends and your are just screwed. You will never be able to fit enough weapons in a single base manned by a few people to protect against an army.

Anyway should I protect that base I'll probably use an anti submarine net, somekind of big net that was used from time to time to deny the access to a port to ships and submarines.

So that any opponent would have a hard time coming close enough to fire or board the station. Probably combined with proximity detection mines. But all of this is quite expensive.

And dangerous by the way.

You now need a source of food, water and oxygen ? Well for food you could still make things grow inside your base, such as vegetables with artificial (or natural) lighting. You could also farm seafood.

For water you could just use the sea water, for that you just need to treat it to remove its salt and any other unpleasant things. Most likely by boiling the water of and then cooling down that steam to get water without salt. Such facilities already exists, and works with solar energy. Once more that's something that can be done in 2016.

As for the air I don't know exactly the process, but nuclear submarines can stay months long underwater by recycling their oxygen, and space stations/shuttles can do the same, so you just need the same system and a massive quantity of energy.

To heat your base, two options, you count on electricity and your main energy reserve, or you could perhaps your geothermal energy ? For this, being not too far away from a volcano could be a nice idea, you'd have a very good, reusable source of heating, the same one already used to supply some server farms in northern countries (Sweden if I remember correctly).

It would also solve your problem of electricity, but if I may, using a nuclear plant would help too, generates more power for a long time. Better yet if you can find a fusion reactor then you could have an almost infinite source of energy, by using hydrogen, that can be found by breaking down water into O² and hydrogen.

Last point, you need fun, video games and stuff like that ? There are big underwater cables running through the oceans and providing internet. You could just do a little junction to one of these with your base, and with a little of hack get free internet without anyone being able to detect where you are.

I hope my answer will help you !

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    $\begingroup$ The underwater network cables is a good point, and you might (as the creator is a very wealthy person) be able to pay whoever owns the nearest cable to allow you to put a link in. You would probably end up with some of the fastest internet, too $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2016 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for hacking into the internet, never thought of that (even though most servers will most probably be down). $\endgroup$
    – user22613
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ @RudolfL So basically you need a Vault tec like submarine base ? Hmmm.... Well if most of the servers are down for sure its quite harder to get games and fun thing to do. Nonetheless you could just take a farm of server from Valve corp with you. If you can have a nuclear plant/geothermal plant to supply it with power you'll have hundreds of thousands of game for you. That's enough to play for the rest of your life. $\endgroup$
    – Kaël
    Aug 31, 2016 at 19:54

If you want to survive a nuclear strike then you don't need nearly this level of prevention. Nuclear warheads are almost always dropped on major cities because thats where they do most damage. What you want is a house that is ...

  • at a large distance from a city
  • sturdy, with thick stone or concrete (also acts as radiation shielding)
  • no drafts (all air goes through air con system)
  • basement with supplies of food, water, air filters
  • batteries, solar panels, generator, hydroelectric for power
  • water filter, near stream?
  • fallout protection suit and Geiger counter

With all or even most of these you will likely survive with no serious harm. (sense also required) It might not stand a direct strike but no missile commander is going to attack a house that is miles from anywhere.

  • $\begingroup$ Can I have enough food storage to last me a few decades? $\endgroup$
    – user22613
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ @ Rudolf L. Jelínek For a lot less than an underwater base. Posiblly less than normal food costs if bought in bulk. Lots of dried rice, pasta and veg, some tins and frieze dried fruit. Anything easy to preserve. (build a cool dry larder and ensure vit C and variety) Frozen food may not be a good idea if power supply is intermittent (eg solar) $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2016 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ Though this does not technically answer the question, it is correct (though notice the bomb rating: the distance might need to be very, very large). To make this answer go along with the question, since OP likely needs under water for their story, you could close with "Now put that under any amount of water not because it's necessary but because that's what you asked. Put it in your pond if you want." or something to that effect. $\endgroup$
    – Loduwijk
    Jan 4, 2018 at 21:07

Go and sink a nuclear submarine (preferably Russian Typhoon class) in that location. And your permanent base is ready...

14°28'20.91"S 135°24'34.53"W

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    $\begingroup$ This really doesn't help the OP in any way. It's not informative enough on any of the points he asked and is more appropriate as a comment than an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Raisus
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ It satisfies almost every requirement... Also has bonuses such as: re-floatability / relocatability and those submarines even has a swiming pool inside a submarine. Find me a one requirement does not fit $\endgroup$
    – underscore
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ @uncerscore - food for one. A nuclear sub is too small to grow any kind of food on, not to mention the OP's request for natural light to be had inside the base. Sorry but a metal tube isn't going to magically see any kind of natural light; not to mention a nuclear sub is extremely small and will feel pretty cramped with 30 ish people on board for months, if not years on end $\endgroup$
    – Raisus
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ oops sorry accidentally misspelt your name. Apologies $\endgroup$
    – Raisus
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ It's sunk and on the ocean floor. It's not waterproof at that depth but will be holled or smashed up like a used beer can. How's that useful? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:35

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