Fallout shelter: Ukraine war sparks demand in France

Demand for fallout shelters in France has increased dramatically since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, where there are only 1,000.

“In one month, our website traffic went from ten to a thousand a day. From an estimate of one to over nine hundred”. Mathieu Seranne, the boss of the young company Artemis Protection, still can’t believe it. Within a month, requests exploded. The war in Ukraine has rekindled fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

Unexpectedly, not all customers are rich rich people. “We have postal workers, paramedics, CNRS researchers, doctors, diplomats,” said Mathieu Séranne, who does business with Frenchmen, 40 and 75. “It’s expensive, of course, but customers see it as an extension of the home. And as an added value when it’s resold,” he said.

At Amesis Bat it costs 79,000 euros for 14 square meters and 100,000 euros for 20 square meters at Bunkl. At Artemis Protection, you have to pay 149,000 euros for the smallest bunker, or 6.27 square meters. At this price, there are minimum requirements: basic air filtration, inlet piping, and mandatory emergency exits. For larger – in 80 square meters – and fully equipped, plan a million euros.

France has only 1,000 shelters

France has the largest nuclear power plant in Europe (56 reactors spread over 18 sites) and is the second largest producer of nuclear power after the United States.

However, it has only 1,000 military fallout shelters and about 400 private shelters. Ridiculous numbers, unlike Russia, Israel or Switzerland, which require its residents to have a radiation shelter for every residential building they build, the protection rate is 100%.

What motivated buyers first was the fear of problems at Ukrainian power plants. We know they were attacked by the Russians who took professionals hostage. “The fear of a third world war or bombs is not the reason my clients are asking for quotes. They are not paranoid,” explains Mathieu Seranne, “even though the media rhetoric revolves mainly around nuclear war”.

So, in the event of a nuclear problem, the client will be able to take refuge in a fully equipped fallout shelter away from the cold and dark bunkers with all the necessary comforts (kitchen, bathroom, living room, TV, bedroom, etc.) WWII . In terms of survival, expect a lot of inventory. “We not only provide shelter, but also packages with all the necessary equipment. Customers want everything to be ready, just in case,” says Mathieu Seranne.

Panic rooms, bunkers, climate shelters…what’s the difference?

There are different types of safe shelters. Emergency rooms are temporary shelters designed in the event of an attack and/or break-in. They provide protection when help arrives.

Climate shelters are located underground, providing shelter from natural events.

As for the bunkers, also underground, they provide theoretical protection in any situation even if the ground collapses.

Small or large models, you can’t build a shelter anywhere: soil research is necessary. It can be buried in the garden of the house or upstream of a new building. Depends on this, you have to check your local city plan, submit a building permit depending on the size of the shelter…

In any case, the shelter is best buried underground, otherwise the protective effect of the soil layer between the shelter and the ground will weaken the radiation.

For those who intend to shelter immediately, they will have to wait several weeks as it requires manufacturing (3 to 5) and administrative procedures.

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As for those who want to keep it a secret, this is impossible, as applying for a building permit must mean that it is a radiation shelter, “not a wine cellar!”, as Mathieu Serrane puts it.

In recent weeks, 85% of bunker installation requests have come from the South, more precisely from the PACA region, and are Russian-speaking.

These shelters also protect against biological risks such as infection, poisoning, biological invasions, etc. They form a safety measure against tornadoes, cyclones or landslides. The Bunkl website also promotes shelters against “Social Risks: Revolts, Civil Wars, and Raids.”

Where to hide in the event of a nuclear attack?

There are only 1,000 fallout shelters in France. So, in the event of a nuclear attack, where should one go?

The Le Redoutable submarine in Cherbourg will be safe enough.

In Paris there is a place built during the Cold War with 14 shelters: Radio France! They can be accessed through galleries located below the building.

There is also a 250-square-meter sanctuary under the Elysee Palace.

On the coast of Normandy, bunkers can also provide shelter, but not against nuclear attack, like the catacombs in Paris.

Swiss case

Public shelters in schools or town halls, private bunkers in buildings or houses, every single one of the 8.6 million Swiss is enough to protect themselves. The country will have 360,000 shelters across the country.

These shelters have been a legal obligation in Switzerland since the 1960s, a relic of the Cold War. The law is obligated to build protected spaces and guarantee every resident a place.

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