News / USA

US Man Determined to Build Largest Private Underground Shelter

Paved roadways lead the way to the Vivos Shelter and Resort during a tour of the facility in Atchison, Kansas, June 18, 2013.
Paved roadways lead the way to the Vivos Shelter and Resort during a tour of the facility in Atchison, Kansas, June 18, 2013.
Mike Richman
The U.S. government maintains a series of deep underground bunkers.  Their purpose is mostly to protect the president and top U.S. government officials from a catastrophic incident.  Now, one man is on a mission to save civilians by building a cavernous, privately funded underground shelter.  But is it realistic?

Robert Vicino believes so.

He describes himself as a spiritual person who thinks humans are living in “end times”. Vicino foresees scenarios that could lead to Armageddon: a nuclear or terrorist attack, a pole shift, a solar flare, a wayward meteorite, a major power outage, a worldwide tsunami, or a super volcano.

To save lives, his company, Vivos, is building what it touts as the world’s largest private underground survival shelter.  The facility will house up to 5,000 people and include as much floor space - 686,000 square meters - as New York city’s Empire State Building, once the world’s tallest structure.

This artist rendering released by Vivos, an underground shelter network, shows a design for an underground bunker.
This artist rendering released by Vivos, an underground shelter network, shows a design for an underground bunker.
Inspiration

Vicino, who is in his 50s, felt an urge more than 30 years ago to build the shelter.

“Somehow, I had this inspiration that I needed to build a shelter deep underground for as many as 5,000 people for what is coming our way," he said.  "And the key word is coming, and the question is from where and what.  I didn’t know the answer.  I still don’t.”

Skeptics say the catastrophe Vicino envisions will never happen.  He thinks otherwise.

“All of those things could happen in an instant," Vicino said.  "They could have happened five minutes ago, and we don’t even know it yet.  I often hear from people this is crazy, this will never happen in our lifetime.  To that I like to say ignoring reality will not protect you from it.”

The shelter, to be located in the midwestern U.S. town of Atchison, Kansas, was once a U.S. Army facility used to store weapons.  It sits 40 meters below a limestone mountain.

Vicino said, once completed, the shelter will have doors that can withstand a 20-megaton blast within an eight-kilometer radius.

It will hold as many as 1,500 recreational vehicles, he said, and a food supply for up to one year per person.  Only members who pay a one-time fee of $20,000 can use it.  Anyone in the world can join.

Paul Seyfried is on the advisory board of the American Civil Defense Association, which prepares for manmade and natural disasters.  He questioned some of the shelter’s logistical details.

“The only reservation I would have is who is going to be in charge of law enforcement and when you have so many people put together, especially in recreational vehicles, you’re going to have to deal with carbon monoxide and exhaust pollution," Seyfried said.  "There are going to be a lot of generators.  How are they going to handle energy and power management and then when you put thousands of people together from all these different backgrounds with varying amounts of food and other support … I’m just trying to get my mind around all the problems they’re going to have with that.”

Plus, how will people reach the shelter in time to escape a disaster?

The key, Vicino said, is how much notice exists that an incident is imminent.  Seyfried ridiculed that notion, saying, for instance, it takes only 15 minutes longer for a Russian missile to reach Atchison than Switzerland.

Vacation destination

Then there’s Vivos’ description of the shelter as a “resort” and the “ultimate vacation destination for family and friends.”

Vicino said members are free to enjoy the activities set up above and below ground, such as archery and martial arts training.  Until a calamity sets in, he said, the area will resemble a “Disneyland” in a “boy scout sense.”

“The resort is something that you will enjoy prior to lockdown," Vicino said.  "At the moment of lockdown, if and when that ever happens, it’ll then become a survival shelter.”

Jacque Pregont is president of the Atchison Chamber of Commerce.  To her, the shelter is an economic venture that will attract tourists and stimulate the town’s economy.  She also believes it will be a safe place should an apocalyptic incident occur.

“In conversations I've had with Robert, he sees it as both also," Pregont said.  "So I think people can buy it for several reasons, and I would hope that they are going to end up coming here and spending some time here and not just waiting for a catastrophic event.”

Perhaps 5,000 people in a shelter in Kansas will survive such an incident.  That's Robert Vicino's goal.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vivos from: USA
August 02, 2013 4:35 PM
Mr. Seyfried he doesn’t have a clue about how this facility is setup and operated. None of the RV’s will have any fuel aboard, nor any means of running their engines or generators. All power, dehumidified and NBC filtered air, water, food, cooking and sewage facilities are supplied by Vivos within the shelter, with full ventilation of all gases, carbon monoxide, etc.

But, like Paul Seyfried stated: “I’m just trying to get my mind around all the problems they’re going to have with that.” He should have asked Vivos before making ridiculous assumptions.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs