Sweden updates hundreds of nuclear bunkers amid fears of new Cold War with Russia

Sweden is set to bring hundreds of Cold War-era nuclear bunkers out of mothballs as tensions with Russia in the Baltic are ratcheted up another notch.  The news comes as the Swedish parliament held its first war game in 20 years. The Speaker of Parliament, Urban Ahlin, said: ‘These are secret scenarios…you were exposed to pressure. After the fall of the Soviet Union those fears diminished and most of the bunkers were mothballed.

By Afp and Mail Online Reporter

Published: 11:24 EDT, 21 March 2017 | Updated: 13:20 EDT, 21 March 2017

Sweden is set to bring hundreds of Cold War-era nuclear bunkers out of mothballs as tensions with Russia in the Baltic are ratcheted up another notch.

The news comes as the Swedish parliament held its first war game in 20 years.

More than 60,000 nuclear bunkers were established after 1945 to protect Swedes in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

Although Sweden has always remained neutral and never developed nuclear weapons of its own, Stockholm always feared an attack by Moscow.

After the fall of the Soviet Union those fears diminished and most of the bunkers were mothballed.

But now, with President Putin rattling his sabres and cranking up Russia’s military build-up around the Baltic – especially in the Kaliningrad enclave – Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has decided to carry out a review of the bunkers., which is not a NATO member, is also reintroducing military service, which was scrapped in 2010.

Sweden is growing increasingly worried about Russia’s military build-up. In the event of a war Sweden’s iron ore resources and its strategic position on the Baltic would be crucial

The bunkers are marked with the distinctive orange and blue logo of the MSB

The island’s bunkers have room for more than 30,000 people, although Gotland’s population is around twice that figure.

The nuclear bunkers were built of thick concrete and are designed to withstand nuclear blasts. This one at Pionen has already been converted into a data centre and ironically holds some of WikiLeaks’ servers

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Weapon physicist declassifies rescued nuclear test films

The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing, bringing the data they contained to the brink of being lost forever.

For the past five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers have been on a mission to hunt down, scan, reanalyze and declassify these decomposing films. The goals are to preserve the films’ content before it’s lost forever, and provide better data to the post-testing-era scientists who use computer codes to help certify that the aging U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.

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See the declassified LLNL tests:

Seminar: Conventional War and Nuclear Escalation

A project of the Center for Global Security Research (CGSR), the Nuclear Crossroads Initiative brings the laboratory, academic, and policy communities together to address the most pressing issues at the intersection of nuclear deterrence and proliferation in the 21st century.

CGSR was pleased to host the inaugural Nuclear Crossroads seminar July 15th, 2014, with two of the top experts on U.S. strategic nuclear policy. Professors Keir Lieber of Georgetown University and Daryl Press of Dartmouth College reexamined the question of whether nuclear weapons are likely to be used again.

According to the conventional wisdom, nuclear weapons still pose major risks, but the threat of deliberate nuclear attack on the United States or its allies is extremely remote. Instead, analysts stress the nuclear dangers posed by fanatical or delusional leaders, stateless terrorists, misperceptions, and accidents. Because nuclear deterrence is largely irrelevant to dealing with those dangers, many analysts and policymakers have pushed non-proliferation and fissile material security as the core U.S. national security objectives. Nuclear forces – warheads, delivery systems, and associated infrastructures – are thus increasingly viewed as relics of a bygone era.

Dr. Lieber and Dr. Press argue the conventional wisdom is dangerously wrong for four reasons. First, nuclear weapons are just as salient today as they were in the past. Many of America’s current potential adversaries – and other countries around the world – face the exact problem that NATO faced in the Cold War: how to deter an adversary that possesses overwhelming conventional military power. They rely on nuclear weapons for this critical task, just as the United States and NATO relied upon them during the Cold War. Second, relatively weaker states face powerful rational incentives to employ nuclear weapons during a conventional war against a much stronger adversary. Third, the logic of wartime nuclear escalation shaped the defense plans and nuclear employment doctrines of several nuclear states in the past, and it continues to do so today. Fourth, several aspects of modern warfare exacerbate the incentives for the weak to escalate conflicts rather than accept battlefield defeat. Conventional conflicts among nuclear-armed states will therefore unleash strong escalatory dynamics. Professors Lieber and Press conclude with the implications for U.S. national security policy, force structure, and the nuclear weapons complex.

Keir Lieber is Associate Professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University (Ph.D. University of Chicago). Professor Lieber is the author of War and the Engineers: The Primacy of Politics over Technology, and an expert in nuclear deterrence and international relations theory. Daryl G. Press is Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College (Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and author of Calculating Credibility: How Leaders Assess Military Threats, a book on decision-making during military crises. Dr. Lieber and Dr. Press have published widely on U.S. national security policy and nuclear deterrence in the leading academic and foreign policy publications, including International Security, Security Studies, Foreign Affairs, and the Atlantic Monthly.

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed here do not represent LLNL or the U.S. government.