The Swedish government should double the number of bunkers in the country over next ten years, according to the country’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). The move would be to ensure readiness for an attack, even a nuclear strike.
Sweden has 65,000 emergency bunkers able to shelter seven million people in case of emergency.
In its new report Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) argues in favor of building more shelters, considering that the population reached the ten-million mark earlier this year.
The report, which was put together at the request of the government, recommends that a further 50,000 bunkers should be built over a ten-year period starting in 2019. The project is expected to cost two billion kronor, according to the MSB.
Currently existing shelters are in need of renovation, at an estimated cost of one billion kronor. This will include improving ventilation and updating respiratory equipment available to the population, for example.
The facilities will be built in Stockholm; in Norrbotten County; on the island of Gotland and in the Öresund region.
While the agency did not specify a potential threat nor its perceived nature, it said that the shelters are designed to protect the residents from “all weapons that could be used.” In case of an attack, the facilities, often located in residential buildings, are to shield the population from the shock waves and radiation from a nuclear detonation as well as biological and conventional weapons.
Sweden is not unique in this regard. It was estimated that while Sweden’s shelters meet the needs of some 80 percent of the population, in Switzerland the number stands at a staggering 114 percent with 300,000 shelters as of 2006. In Finland, another champion of civil protection, the coverage is at some 70 percent. Otherwise in Europe, the figures are much smaller, not exceeding 50 percent.
Sweden has reintroduced drafting into obligatory military service that will be in effect from January 1, 2018. Last September, it decided to deploy some 150 permanent troops to Gotland, with the military citing the deteriorating security situation in the Baltic Sea.