The Effects of Nuclear Weapons

We recently discovered the PDF of the book,  ‘The Effects of Nuclear Weapons’, on line.  The book was compiled and edited by Samuel Glasstone and Philip Dolan.  This work contains no opinion whatsoever.  “Just the facts.”  We have several hard copies of this book in our own libraries.   It was available from the U.S. Government printing office until Bill Clinton ordered it removed from the menu.  Nuclear attack was just not going to be discussed during his tenure.  This was the bible used by DoD planners, national laboratory employees, etc.  Tons of data derived from atmospheric tests as well as the aftermath of the two US attacks on Japan.  The later chapters discuss physiological effects on human beings….burns, radiation exposure (mostly initial, since there was very little fallout from the Japan attacks), overpressure and secondary missile injuries, etc.   Photos, charts, graphs.

We would highly recommend that you read the information on ‘initial radiation’.  Few shelter companies address this difficult problem in their shelter designs.  If  your shelter is located near a primary target, entrances must be carefully designed to attenuate initial radiation.

It was interesting to see the difference between “ideal” fallout patterns, which were plotted by engineers…..and actual fallout patterns that occurred from tests.  It places those silly maps that project fallout deposition patterns in great doubt.

Unfortunately, the nifty effects circular slide rule is not included in the pdf….the slide rule arrived in a pocket glued in the back cover of the book.  We have one surviving specimen (see attachment).  We have discovered a master pattern to be used to make new ones in some files from TACDA, but haven’t found a printing shop that is willing to produce a few.  Yet.  They probably could be made from mylar print sheets on a commercial grade copy machine.

This is the location of the PDF.


Dad, 7 Kids Killed By Gas Generator While Sleeping

One of our competitors advises operating a generator inside his corrugated steel pipe (CSP) shelter.  This practice goes against all good sheltering principals. The door this competitor makes, which separates the shelter bulkhead from the mudroom type ‘generator room’, cannot be trusted to be totally airtight — And even if it were airtight, opening that door at any time during or after generator operation would allow carbon monoxide to enter into the occupied sheltered area.  Carbon monoxide is a silent killer.

 In addition to that concern, the generator must have a source of outside air to cool and combust properly.  During an NBC event, outside air may contain chemical or biological war gasses and radiation, which will then seep into the occupied sheltered area. 

We firmly advise that you NEVER operate a generator inside your shelter.  

From: ‘Ask a Prepper’

NASHVILLE, TN – A father and his 7 children died in their sleep recently, becoming the last victims to a silent, deadly and secret epidemic sweeping across America.

This tragedy was NOT caused by a mass shooting, a viral outbreak or a natural disaster.

Here’s what happened…

Rodney Todd “had purchased a gas generator to keep his seven children warm” when the power went out, a family member explained.

On Sunday morning, the electricity went off in their home.  The family of 8 went to church, came home, flipped on the gas generator and went to sleep…

And tragically, the NEVER woke up.

All 8 people in the house died while they were sleeping. The chief medical examiner determined that the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning emitted by the gas generator.

How Did Their Gas Generator Kill Them?

We all know that gas generators are noisy, expensive and complicated to operate.  But most people don’t know that gasoline generators are surprisingly dangerous.


Because gas generators work a lot like a car engine. They’re burning gasoline to create power. And just like a car engine, they put off deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Carbon monoxide gas is odorless, tasteless and can KILL any living thing in its path in just minutes without warning.

That’s why gas generators, especially when used improperly indoors (never do this!), can be so deadly.


Missile Warning in Hawaii

If you scroll down in this article far enough, you’ll see American citizens lowering their children into storm sewers to try to protect them from a perceived nuclear attack as a result of yesterday’s false alarm.  This, in the richest country in the world.  For a moment, a few Americans had the opportunity to reflect on our total lack of civil defense shelters, and what the consequences would be.  Invariably, when we talk to groups about nuclear preparedness, someone will say, “I don’t want to survive.  I’ll just go stand under the bomb”.  When it came right down to it, people REALLY DID try to survive a nuclear attack, and did not try to stand directly under the bomb.  Not a single interview so far, of people running outside to try to reach the ‘target area’.     The press, however, totally missed the point, which is, WHERE were these people supposed to take shelter?
In 2004 we (Paul and Sharon), visited the FEMA headquarters building in Kauai.  It was a massive concrete structure on high ground.  After a bit of casual chatter about hurricane readiness, we asked what their planning included for nuclear attack (after all, a huge phased array radar, for missile defense is located on their island).  The smiley official said, “Well, we just hope that doesn’t happen.”  And that, is all Americans have.


There’s a lot of misinformation going around about UV sterilization of water, particularly when it concerns the presence of cysts such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.  These two (and there are others) are quite hardy in a straight bleach solution in cyst form.  Some sources claim that sunlight will render stream or lake water safe to consume, but these two nasty critters are immune to UV radiation at the exposure rates found in the natural environment.

However, when UV light is used at industrial strength, as in a Steri-Light UV sterilizer, the outcome is much better.  While passing through this unit (gotta have one large enough to assure adequate contact time) the right frequency of UV will strip away or scramble the organism’s DNA and it can no longer reproduce in a host.  It eventually dies without starting a colony.

This all presupposes that the raw water has been filtered to the point where sediments have been removed so the little nasties don’t have a place to hide from UV exposure.  Bulbs last a year in continuous service, and the ballast on the Steri-Light unit informs the user when it’s time to replace the bulb.  [Hint:  Have several spare bulbs, and an alternative energy capability so you can run the unit]

This article gets into the nitty gritty on UV sterilization.


Pic 1 is a SteriLIght in service treating stream water that has been pre-treated and filtered down to .35 micron.  The water is crystal clear when entering the sterilizer.


EMP Protective Features of CSP Shelters

Q & A Utah Shelter Systems

My company is looking into building an underground EMP bunker to store electrical equipment and I came across your company. I was hoping to get some information and learn more about the factors to consider when building such a structure.


Dear Phillip,

Our corrugated steel pipe (CSP) structures form a natural faraday cage.  We place steel grating over our steel air vents.  Our hatch type doors are also constructed of steel.  We would need to use a special metal clad gasket for the ‘horizontally configured’ hatch type doors if your equipment is very sensitive. We also carry EMP protected ‘vertically configured’ doors.

We would suggest that you do not run connections to the power grid unless you are prepared to install very expensive filters to the structure. We keep our shelters powered with a solar array.  The electrical lines from the array enter the shelter through metal clad conduit.

Much would depend on the type of equipment you are planning to store, and its function.  Radios, for instance, could not be operated inside the structure without the filters, because you must insult the protective CSP cage with an antennae, which would then compromise the faraday cage effect.  We keep our radios unplugged from the antennae cable and separate the coil by several feet from the equipment when not in use, which limits the risk to the use time of the equipment.  We also disconnect the outside cable from the antennae when not in use.


The depth of cover and the length and diameter of the entrances also increase the protective features of CSP structures.  If your structure is above ground, you should consider increasing the steel thickness, depending on the anticipated strength of the EMP.  Anticipated EMP threat levels vary with the importance and characteristics of the equipment and your proximity to military and high-risk government facilities.  We are not privy to the anticipated threat levels currently being used for tests on equipment during EMP simulations, but think we have a fairly good estimate of those levels.

We recently designed a concrete NBC shelter structure with EMP protection for several rooms.  The rooms were totally metal clad, and we provided special blast and EMP hardware for the air vents of the metal clad generator room.  The filters for the security system and communication areas were massive and very expensive. We do have access to the company that provides these filters and designs.  This was a multi-million dollar endeavor and designed for a high level EMP threat.

If you are looking for an inexpensive solution with excellent EMP protection, however, and do not plan to use the equipment during threat times, the CSP structures are very practical and easily installed.


Sharon Packer

Letter to Rush Limbaugh

Hi Rush,

Greetings from a dedicated listener who still thinks you are the KING of hosts.  I didn’t hear your comments relating to shelters vis-vis North Korea, but I think my business partner did.

Civil defense is a crucial element in national survival…ask the Russians who found civil defense invaluable during WWII.  If the people who make your helmets, rifles, aircraft, artillery shells….are dead, you aren’t going to win any wars.  That’s why Russia has a general over civil defense that sits on the general staff.  that’s why they can move 60 million Russians to hardened civil defense shelters for several days and exercise their comm nets and logistics networks.  [think if what it costs to take 60 million out of your economy for four days…]   Last year, they “only” moved 40 million to shelters for the exercise.  But they can do it.

In the US, the DoD HATES civil defense because it would compete for tax dollars against their pet weapons programs….like the dud known as F35.  But that is another story.

According to an Oak Ridge “State-of-the Art Assessment” of civil defense in 1984, a nationwide civil defense blast/fallout shelter program could be built for 300,000,000 Americans for around $75 billion…..roughly three months of the DoD’s annual budget back then.  A one-time expenditure.  Or a tiny fraction of what we’re going to spend on that dud, F35.   Switzerland’s tax burden for their extraordinary nationwide shelter program is $38 per person per year.  They have shelters for 125% of their population.  While I don’t agree with everything in this article, it does highlight the key features of their national defense strategy…..actually defending the population.   It would be extremely difficult to conquer Switzerland, since they don’t have centralized military facilities to seize, and they are famously armed at home with their trusty Sig 550 assault rifles.  As they say, “We don’t have an army.  We ARE the army.”

Knowing my country will never field a shelter program, We built several shelters and stocked them for our own families, and for many friends.  I’ve now build them professionally.  We learned our trade from a half-dozen nuclear weaponeers, among them Edward Teller, Lowell Wood, Edwin York, Conrad Chester, and others.  Our main ranch shelter is shown in Pic 1.  It’s ten feet deep, and can survive within a few hundred meters of a nuclear explosion.  We stock an 8 year supply of post-attack food and meds, since my experts inform me that the supply chain, and grid won’t be back for one to two decades. I’m working on more food.  We have alternative energy and water processing on an industrial scale…..we laugh at the backpacker filter concept.  : )

This great country affords everyone the opportunity to make their own choices.  Most people spend their time looking for an excuse to lose.  We prefer finding a way to win.  Even if it means difficulty.  I just hope the people who bet on “it will never happen” stick with the consequences of their choices, and not later, change their minds and put the burden of their support on the folks who chose otherwise.

We’re in the desert, so will not likely see direct weapons effects, even if we get into it with Putin and Xing.  We expect fallout and EMP effects, mostly, in our area.  Your mileage may vary!  Inbound warheads having even slight navigational errors can goof by many miles at Mach 24.

We see the primary threat from NOKO as an EMP laydown, since they will never be able to approach the threat status of Russia or China. [the effects of a 20 kt explosion can be contained entirely within the boundaries of the Los Angeles International Airport, with the exception of the fallout]   But a single EMP laydown will constitute a soft kill of the United States….90% of us (“you people out there”) will perish in the first year, post-grid loss.  We’ll be having hash browns and pork chops, and hot showers.   If NOKO hits ten or thirty American cities with their tiny nukes, the country will continue to have power, an economy (though things will get rough when the Dow implodes), lights, flush toilets, and food to eat.  We’ll just be pissed off! I doubt NOKO will waste a warhead on a ground target when he can kill the entire country with a single attack in space.

But a single 10kt enhanced EMP device exploding over Kansas City at 500 km altitude, and we’re done as a post industrial, modern, military power. It’s hard to project military power when you can’t flush a toilet or make a phone call.  Or eat.  China can then make their moves in the Pacific Rim, and Putin can annex western Europe, and we’ll be a footnote in world history.  NOKO, is merely the radical arm of Communist China…and Un doesn’t make a sound or pass gas unless Xing tells him to.  The gang member in China’s pocket, useful for actually taking down the US with an EMP shot, only to be wiped out in succession while China “mourns” the demise of the United States.   But we’ll be wiped out, too.  With 300,000,000 people trying to find any clean water to drink, we’ll have three days to restore power and critical infrastructure. Won’t happen.  In time.   Later, the grid won’t have to be nearly as large….twenty million people don’t need much power.  The Greens will love that.

See you tomorrow, on the air.  Look at the bright side.  If NOKO takes out our grid, transgender bathrooms won’t be the crisis we think it is right now.  : )

My experts include the former chairman of the Congressional Commission To Assess The Threat of EMP To The United States, Dr. Lowell Wood.  You can read his statement to the House Armed Services Committee in 2003, here:   Wood designed nuclear weapons for 35 years at Livermore and Los Alamos…..and was a protégé of Ed Teller.  If you need more testimony, I can provide it.  It’s not late-night AM radio trash.   While I never worked up the nerve to take Wood’s photo (he was very conscious of his personal security, and I respected that.  But Teller did let me take this pic at the lunch table. Pic 4.  I’m holding the 8 x 11 print in my fingers here……I took this in the 1990s, before digital cameras were the norm.  Minolta camera, Fuji film (remember film?).  Our main mentor on weapons effects and shelter design was Edwin York pic 5, who filmed the Trinity shot and all other atmospheric nuclear tests conducted by the US.  York devoted hundreds of hours of consultation on our behalf.  Earned his Masters in nuclear engineering around 1955, and became more involved in weapon design, particularly fusing, arming, and safety systems.  But also designed many shelter experiments at the Nevada Test Site.  They’re all gone now…..the ones that actually did this stuff.  It’s all theory to the folks at the national laboratories.  None there have ever seen a nuclear explosion.

BTW, ask why Trump hasn’t shot down a single one of these launches in the boost phase, using an Arliegh Burke class destroyer.  We talk tough, make stupid pledges we never keep, and allow our real enemies to spit in our faces.  I’m sure we’ll watch that EMP device ride right over us and explode.   Then we’ll have a whole new outlook on national defense, but it will be too late.



US Tanks Roll into German to Bolster NATO


What do you guys make of this?



‘U.S. tanks roll into Germany to Bolster NAto deterrent against possible Russian aggression’:

Hi Pete,

The numbers don’t impress me.  They’re token forces.  In WWII Europe, we put 80,000 tanks in there.  I don’t think the Russians would waste an Iskander on 87 tanks.    In one engagement, Iraqi infantry put 24 Apaches out of action for weeks just from small arms fire from the ground. They knew that anything in the air wasn’t theirs, so fired their machine guns and Kalashnikovs at the low-flying choppers.  Only one of the aircraft that took part in that engagement was airworthy upon return. An Apache, depending on which model, runs about $20 million to $65 million.  Not a bad trade for a few thousand dollars in small arms ammunition.  Commanders from then on were reluctant to send expensive Apaches on support missions.

In my reading of the Soviet campaigns in WWII, like Kursk, 3500 tanks were destroyed in a week.  Both sides lost about the same number, but the Russian T34 replacement rate was much faster….the Germans lost badly there.  In another campaign, the Red Army caught 750,000 Germans in a pocket, and wiped them out. I think the word the history book used, was “annihilated”.   That’s about the size of the entire US Army and half of their reserves.  They regard our D-Day assault on Normady as a firefight.  Had 20 million Russians not soaked up Mauser bullets on the Eastern Front, we would have faced an entirely different situation in France.

Staging areas for all of this (as little is it may be) attracts the attention of  targeting planners.  If a nuclear Iskander costs $10 million, but will destroy a billion dollars in US equipment (not to mention the TIME it takes to replace it and transport it all the way to Putin’s front door)…it’s a good trade. This is why I’ve always been a skeptic of pre-staged equipment in Europe. They show up as bulls eyes on Russian satellites (or, any Russian tourist can walk right up to the fence with a smart phone and capture the GPS coordinates….see the film, 13 Hours.    We should know this because we target any concentration of forces or equipment, too, the last example was ISIS.  They quickly learned to disperse their trucks, artillery, tanks after the first few air strikes.  We, on the other hand, still haven’t learned….and park our planes in neat rows and our tanks bumper to bumper in parking lots, together with their spare parts, ammunition, and fuel supplies.

We’ve sprinkled a few Bradleys and SP guns in Norway, too, but it’s all token stuff.  It’s a message.  A weak one.  Obama never should have withdrawn American troops and armor from German in the first place. I think Germany has about 350 tanks that still run.  Aggressors are opportunists.  If they see weakness, they will be sorely tempted to exploit it.

In September, the US Commander in Europe said Putin could overrun NATO in 60 hours. With these tanks arriving, in such small numbers, it will take Putin 65 hours.  For 80.  It really doesn’t make much difference. Obama is an empty suit, and Putin knows it.  Trump will be the FNG in Jan 20th.  He has yet to learn what all the buttons and levers on his deck actually do.  He will have to work with the Obama-promoted generals at DoD and in the field. We have not repaired much of the aircraft worn out and broken from W’s wars in the middle east.  Russia hasn’t worn out their equipment in such campaigns, and their operation in Syria involves a minimum number of aircraft.

BTW, while watching some of these new reality shows of our guys in Afghanistan in combat, I see a trend.  We send our men out in these light armored vehicles to “patrol”.  A lot of chattering with the children in the street, and PR work.  Eventually, they come under heavy fire from insurgents, and from there, it’s a defensive action all the way.  They take casualties, lose vehicles, and withdraw.  Sometimes, they call in an expensive jet or Apache or two to drop explosives on the bad guys or fire a few $33,000.00 Hellfire missiles at them, but I never see aggressive, fire-and-maneuver tactics.  The enemy seems to control the battle space, decide when to engage and when to disengage.  We did this same stupid stuff in Vietnam…send infantry out to get shot and step on booby traps, and when they make contact, back off and wait for air and arty.  Our grandfathers didn’t have close air support in WWII…..they used good old, solid tactics to find, fix, maneuver, and close with the enemy and destroy him in close combat.  Our field commanders are either restricted from doing their jobs or just want to get their ticket punched so they can move up the food chain.  No effort seems to be made to take the fight to the enemy, cut them off and destroy them.  As long as they run away when air support shows up, we’re just happy to get our broken stuff and wounded back to the compound, where the enemy still pounds them with rocket and artillery fire whenever they wish.  Not the way to win, for sure, and it wasn’t the way W ran his Iraqi campaign, in which we destroyed Saddam’s army in a week.  Afghanistan is a Jihadi shooting gallery.












Flat Topped Steel Shelters

Flat Topped Steel Shelters

Letter to a Client:  By Paul Seyfried

I recently reviewed some shelter sites featuring flat-topped steel shelters. Flat-topped shelters derive no benefit from earth arching, so they can’t be buried very deep….a few feet or so. I’d get in one if a tornado was bearing down on me, and hope something heavy doesn’t fall on top of my shelter, like a utility pole, Peterbuilt, or John Deere tractor. The few feet of shielding (if not blown off during the initial blast winds) provide only minimal fallout protection and NO initial radiation protection.

Without exception, the pictures on flat-topped shelter sites suggest that the designers do not understand the concept of radiation shielding geometry on entrances. I see vertical exits merging directly into the ceiling of the shelters, and main entrances lacking 90-degree turns and without long enough horizontal runs.

Many shelter designers use the term “military grade” on their nomenclature, but this term is meaningless.  Someone please tell me what “military grade”…. is.  Is it a launch control center at a Minute Man III field in eastern Wyoming?   That would mean a 3,000 psi overpressure rated facility, with two concrete containments…. one suspended on gimbals with 8 feet of travel, inside.  These are buried 88 feet deep, and have very thick stainless steel blast doors weighing several tons.

Flat-topped shelters are seldom if ever built to NBC shelter standards (heavily reinforced concrete shelters excepted) and should be considered to be ‘storm shelters’, only. Blast doors must be carefully engineered to withstand both ‘over’ and ‘under pressures’. Many people have had very unpleasant experiences with their “storm shelter doors”, even during a tornado experience. During last year’s worst tornadoes in OK, over a dozen shelter owners reported that the sheet metal doors on their storm shelters had blown completely off.  Most, thankfully, were not home or in their shelters when this occurred. Having inspected some of these sleazy doors at trade shows, I’m not at all surprised.

These designers don’t seem to understand that it’s not just rain and wind that we’re dealing with.  Like Ron White, the comedian, said in his routine, “It’s not THAT the wind is blowing…it’s WHAT the wind is blowing.”  How about a water heater hitting your door at 250 mph?   Ed York (hardened facility construction advisor for NATO and good friend) made the timely comment; “A Ford station wagon, skimming the earth’s surface at 600 mph is a formidable weapon” comes to mind.  Ed was educating me as to why one would want to place their air intake and exhaust goose necks below grade in rock cribs instead of having them waving in the breeze. I could tell by the way he would hesitate, and his gaze, that he was sizing up the IQ of the idiot across the table from him [that would be me] while choosing his words.  I got his point loud and clear.  A shock wave pulverizes everything in its path…. buildings, trees, vehicles, utility poles, and spreads this tidal wave of ground-up ‘jelly’ in front of it at very high speed.  This mass also aids in pulverizing more stuff along the way, and adds to the mass of debris. BUT…. it also fills in low places like basements, ditches, voids, Swiss shelter entrances (remember the sloped ramps on their entrances) with this blended crap once the overpressure drops below about 7 psi. Above that, the wind is sucking out basements…. people, too. Anything sticking above grade is not going to be happy. And that’s why Ed York greatly favored a flat, horizontal steel hatch instead of a vertical door. It’s a low-drag target.  A vertical door must be seven times stronger to resist a 100-psi overpressure wave due to reflected overpressure (not to mention the crap that arrives with it).

Flat topped steel shelters may have been properly engineered to carry the small, static, ‘dead load’ for a minimal dirt cover, but no consideration has been given to the dynamic, ‘live load’ from impact and movement during a blast, or for proper shielding loads. Some shelter designers (right on their web sites) claim their flat-topped shelters to be even stronger than arched shelters! I know of no ‘real engineer’ that would agree with that statement. The arch provides the strongest geometry for weight bearing and is a pure compression form. Arches appeared in architecture as early as the 2nd millennium BC and some have survived for many thousands of years, bearing witness to the strength of that concept. You’d think we’d catch on by now.

Evaluating NBC Shelter Sites

A letter to a client


Dear Sir,

Planning and evaluation at this stage is wise, as sometimes, the property is not suitable for a shelter.  We recently made a similar trip in another state for a client who really wanted two large pipe shelters, and of course, we wanted to supply them for him. However, the site was not viable despite it’s beautiful lakeshore location. It was an unhappy outcome for both us and for the customer, but we suggested he pursue a concrete option located near the street.  The overarching goal is to get the client into a shelter, even if it isn’t ours. 

My fee for such a trip is $500.00 for a two-day trip, to be waived if Utah Shelter receives an order for a shelter.  Any information we can glean on the site would be helpful, such as water table depth, soil type, underground power and gas lines, etc.  We will look at equipment access, staging areas for the equipment, crane, semi-truck delivering the shelter, crushed rock and road base backfill materials, etc.  

On theWsite above, it was a very good thing we came out to walk the topography because there was NO WAY to get a low-boy flat bed trailer with a 24,000 pound shelter from the road to the proposed site without $100,000.00 in modifications to the client’s property or floating the shelters in on a barge.  The property’s slope from the highway exceeded 40 degrees…and would have been a nightmare featuring a high-centered trailer blocking a two lane highway. Getting empty trucks OUT of the property would have been nearly impossible.  The client and contractors need to know exactly what’s involved before pulling the trigger on a project like this.

Richard Lowe is a contractor located in the UK that is breaking the ice for good steel shelters in his area. Utah Shelter has been forthright in sharing as much information with him as possible to get him up and running in this field. We have no financial interest in his efforts….we just want him to be able to offer safe, effective shelters for the citizens of the UK. We do get enquiries from Brits who would like one of our steel shelters, but the shipping from the American West to the UK would prove costly. Better to have someone there that can turn them out on UK soil.

In the late 1980s, Sharon Packer and I built our first shelter…an 8’ x 40’ corrugated steel pipe unit.  She was not a nuclear engineer at the time, and we had precious little accurate information to go on.  No one built steel shelters in the USA.  We also didn’t know that the U.S. Government had already tested corrugated steel blast shelters at the Nevada Test Site with nuclear explosives. It was our first effort.  I had help at my aerospace employer, with over 100 engineers of all stripes at my disposal who gave me free engineering on structural issues and in designing my own blast valves.  We didn’t know we could buy torture-tested valves and air handlers from Switzerland.  An seasoned engineer there had worked on the Atlas missile program and understood blast valve design…so I fabricated my own. 

A year after we had completed our shelter, we ran into a civil defense advocacy organization called Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, which featured among its members five key nuclear weapons physicists. They often presented at conferences and their careers were all fascinating. We lost no time becoming fast friends with them, and got them to visit our shelter for a day.  They loved our initial effort, and gave us suggestions to improve the shielding factors of the entrances, blast doors, deck, etc.  Edwin York, who ran the photographic section of the Manhattan Project and was a nuclear engineer himself, gave us over 700 hours of his time and expertise….he re-wrote our brains on subjects ranging from weapons effects, command and control of nuclear forces, how ICMBs work, fusing and arming systems, warhead design, and most importantly, what happens to buried structures when exposed to the direct effects of a nuclear explosion. Mr. York had photographed and filmed every U.S. atmospheric nuclear test, starting with the Trinity shot in 1945. He also designed many of the experiments on the ground….housing, factory buildings, gas stations, and most importantly, several underground shelters. York knew exactly what we very much wanted to learn. [He inspired Sharon to go back to school and earn her masters degree in nuclear engineering. Ed York drove a thousand miles to help her defend her thesis at the University of Utah.] He blew up a lot of things.  While it was fun and interesting to be around Edward Teller (initiator of the Manhattan Project and credited with fathering the hydrogen bomb), it was York who was intimately involved with testing and the evaluations of the aftermath. He was our guy.  Sadly, we were the only shelter fabricators, other than a brief showing from a fiberglass shelter company that had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with these figures. By 2004, they had all passed.  Only Dr. Lowell Wood remains, as he didn’t start working with Teller until the early 1960s at Los Alamos. Today, there is not a single engineer at the national labs that has actually seen a nuclear explosion.  Only films.  Lowell Wood is the acting chairman of the now-dormant Congressional Commission to Assess The Threat of EMP To The United States. I am attaching Wood’s statement to the House Armed Services Committee on electromagnetic pulse and it’s implications to western civilization.

If the appropriate shelter is a corrugated steel type, I can advise you, alone.  If the client desires a concrete shelter, Sharon Packer, our staff nuclear engineer should also come…she has more experience in this area than I do, and the ventilation systems in more complex concrete shelters requires someone that knows what they are about.  She has consulted on shelters costing (so far!) $17 million. That’s over my head!  My personal shelter, a 10’ x 50’ corrugated steel pipe shelter, runs around $74,000.00. 

Thank you for thinking of us…we hope we can be of service. 

Best regards, 

Paul Seyfried
Utah Shelter Systems, Inc. 

Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location
By Paul Seyfried & Sharon Packer
Choose your underground (UG) site carefully. The first attribute for a good
location is an area with a low water table- that is, an area where you can dig a trench 18 to 20 feet deep without hitting ground water. In many areas, the water table can vary by seasonal rainfall (areas subject to hurricanes fall into this category).
Rocky Soil:
Rocky soil will work, but it can add time and expense to the excavation. The soil on our remote site is very rocky. We were taking out rocks the size of a small Volkswagen. Never back fill with large rocks. If you have solid rock you will need to blast (which is very expensive but doable). Gravely type soil is fine and drains well.
Wet Soil:
Wet soil of any kind, is a total non-starter. Spring excavations will show you the
most likely ʻhigh waterʼ level. For installations later in the year, carefully estimate the high water level of the soil. If you reach wet soil during excavation, back fill to a safe, dry soil level before installing the structure. If you need more cover for warmth or radiation protection, mound the dirt to make a hill over the structure. In areas of potential blast or high winds, make sure the slope of the mound does not exceed 30 degrees.

Hills & Valleys:
We would suggest that you look for an area that is not at the bottom of a vast slope. When placed in these locations, over a period of hours to days, the water that has collected over a structure will super-saturate the soil and find any imperfection in the integrity of the structure…and come inside. When a structure is located up-slope, on high ground…the rain will run AWAY from the structure, and not saturate the soil deep underground (unless the soil is 100% sand…). In short, high ground good, — low ground, not good.
We have built “submarines”, where the entire structure is below the water line, but they are welded plate structures (steel fuel tanks), with solid steel pipe entrances. Submarine structures must be held in place by heavy steel straps that are anchored into concrete. Steel plate structures are heavy and harder to handle in the hole. A 48” diameter entrance elbow made of corrugated pipe may weigh 250 lbs., where a 1/2 inch walled steel pipe entrance will weigh thousands of lbs. Water problems can be dealt with, but they increase costs, and the structure components are more difficult to assemble on the job site. Keep in mind that wet soil and clay type soils do not ʻarchʼ and will compromise your blast protection.
Clay Soil:
Clay type soils hold water for a long time. When this type of soil is saturated, your underground structure is not only holding up the weight of the soil, but also of the water it holds. Clay soils are not even recommended for use against concrete foundations, as clay creeps and moves, and will eventually crack concrete walls.
In clay excavations, water will collect in and around the disturbed areas and the clay will hold the water, forming a “swimming pool” effect. Clay soils will require a good drainage system, such as a French drain.

  • Always consult a good soil engineer before installing your underground structure.
    When installing in clay, soil Engineers sometimes recommend that you totally remove the clay overburden, fill with crushed rock up to about 3 feet or so of grade and then apply engineerʼs fill or road base for another couple of feet before applying a top soil layer. A layer of sediment screen over the crushed rock before the engineerʼs fill goes in will protect your French drains from becoming clogged in the future.
    We surveyed a structure (not one of ours) that was buried in red clay soil in
    Virginia a while ago, and it was near collapse when we looked at it. In addition to the clay soil present, the site was located in a large bowl- about 300 acres worth- so that all the rain in the world drained down to where the structure was installed. Location, location, location! Parts of the structure may possibly be saved if they remove the clay and replace it with engineerʼs fill and crushed rock….something that will arch. The crushed rock will arch well, even when wet. Clay does not arch well, even when dry.
    Deformation of Structure
    Some deformation of the end caps/bulkheads in steel structures is completely normal and expected. I know this will happen and I locate the bolt pattern holding the air handler brackets in a close, square pattern knowing that the strut will lift away from the end cap upon backfill. I plan for this when installing the deck (thatʼs why the deck does not contact the end caps) and the ventilation intake pipe. Corrugated pipe is not a particularly accurate cylinder, as it is wound in a spiral format….like a paper towel tube. Some deviation in the diameter dimensions is very normal. Most of them seem to come out a little larger on the
    ends than in the middle- but not always.
    We recommend using a large track hoe (size 290 to 330) instead of a backhoe.
    The track hoe will get the job done much more quickly, and time is money. It also provides a huge safety factor when digging a deep installation.
  • Never, never, use a Bob Cat to back fill your structure.
  • Pick your location carefully.
  • Donʼt be in a hurry. Dig a test hole and do a perk
    test. It will more than pay for itʼs self in the long run—and
  • NEVER, NEVER back fill with clay.