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Nuclear submarines as global risk shelters

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Nuclear submarines could be effective refuges from several types of global catastrophes

• Existing military submarines could be upgraded for this function with relatively low cost

• Contemporary submarines could provide several months of surface independence

• A specially designed fleet of nuclear submarines could potentially survive years or even decades under water

• Nuclear submarine refuges could be a step towards the creation of space refuges

Published in: Science
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Nuclear submarines as global risk shelters

  1. 1. Alexey Turchin, Brian Green Nuclear submarines as global catastrophic risk shelters Foundation Science for Life Extension alexeiturchin@gmail.com
  2. 2. Seth Baum Isolated refuges for surviving global catastrophes http://sethbaum.com/ac/2015_Refuges.html Nuclear submarines are designed to be robust survivors Surface independence criteria: • 0.5 - 5 years autonomy • At least 400 meters below surface • Could move throughout the ocean
  3. 3. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines are designed to be robust survivors Military-grade survivability: • Protection from pressure and shock waves • Hiddenness • Air independence • Radiation protection
  4. 4. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines are the cheapest solution SSBN are cheaper than space colonies: • They are already exist • 1 trillion dollars spent on refining submarine technology • Collectively thousands of years of experience • Rate of accidents becomes very low
  5. 5. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines designed to survive nuclear war Subs were designed with nuclear war survival in mind • Blast and EMP protection • Radiation protection • Able to move to Southern hemisphere, where will be less radiation • Able to go to the equator, where will be less ice in case of the nuclear winter • Able to survive under ice • Not easy targets
  6. 6. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines are the cheapest solution SSBNs could serve as refuges while continuing to perform other functions: • Worldwide, there are 20 subs in the sea everyday • Women are already in crews • Addition of seeds, books and data could convert them into refuges with small investment
  7. 7. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines are better than bunkers • They can move and not easy targets • Could move to the safest place • No looters or “infected friends” • No need for air and water tubes on surface • No heat dissipation problem • Could go deeper because ocean is colder (no thermal gradient problem) • Already have nuclear power • Information isolation: no Internet on board
  8. 8. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines are better than Mars colony • They already exist • They are proved to be safe • They are cheaper even in best realisation ерт smallest Mars colony • Mars colony autonomy is impossible without self- replicating robots, which creates new risks • Mars colony is easy target in case of war
  9. 9. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines have their own energy source • 25-50 years of operation for contemporary reactors • No heat dissipation problem • No need for fuel or air • Could be replaced by water turbines, generating electricity from currents
  10. 10. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines: own supplies • Oxygen generation from water • Water desalination • Plankton filtering is possible as source of food
  11. 11. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines could provide survival for different catastrophes: • Nuclear war with large radiological contamination and nuclear winter • Biological war or pandemic, especially slow and hidden • Asteroid impacts and nuclear winter • Short term but intense global warming • Mutiny of a drone army • Gamma ray burst • Supervoclanic event
  12. 12. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Nuclear submarines will not help for too large high-tech catastrophe • Unfriendly AI • Grey goo of nanobots • LHC catastrophe creates mini blackhole
  13. 13. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37.
  14. 14. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Food for 5 years could be stored in missile shafts • Unfriendly AI • Grey goo of nanobots • LHC catastrophe creates mini blackhole
  15. 15. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Ohio-class SSBN has crew of 155 • Minimal survivable population is around 100 • Eggs and sperm could be frozen • Starting in 2010, women joined US submarine crews
  16. 16. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Submarine needs a remote island to dock • Submarines are good for surviving a short-term, intense event • Islands are good for long-term survival of medium intensity event • Islands could be good starting points for human recovery
  17. 17. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Levels of realisation of the project: • Cheap: add some books and seeds to already existing subs,1 mln USD, 6 month survival. • Medium: convert decommissioned Ohio-class submarine in “Yellow submarine”, 1 bn USD, 5 years survival. • High: create fleet of the ark-submarines from scratch, 200 bn USD (still cheaper than ISS) - 20 years survival.
  18. 18. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Funding • Negative price is possible: Navy could pay from its advertising budgets for small scale realisation • Billionaires: Personal refuge + yacht + recreational home + wildlife observation • Space programs: Nuclear submarines could be test environment for long-term survival in space
  19. 19. Turchin, Alexey, and Brian Patrick Green. "Aquatic refuges for surviving a global catastrophe." Futures 89 (2017): 26-37. Conclusion • Nuclear submarines could be effective refuges from several types of global catastrophes • Existing military submarines could be upgraded for this function with relatively low cost • Contemporary submarines could provide several months of surface independence • A specially designed fleet of nuclear submarines could potentially survive years or even decades under water • Nuclear submarine refuges could be a step towards the creation of space refuges
  20. 20. The Map of Shelters and Refuges from Global Risks (Plan B of X-risks Prevention) On the ground Distance from typical habitats Underground On the sea Under the sea Antarctic bases Number of shelters: more than 10 Number of people: hun- dreds Independent survivabil- ity: 1-5 years Ability to re-create civi- lization: high Vulnerability: medium Best protection against: pandemics, nuclear winter, fallout Uncontacted tribes Number of shelters: around 10 Number of people: tho- sands Independent survivabil- ity: thousands years Ability to re-create civili- zation: medium Vulnerability: high Best protection against: some types of pandemics Remote villages Number of shelters: thou- sands or more Number of people: millions Independent survivabil- ity: almost indefinite Ability to re-create civili- zation: high Vulnerability: medium Best protection against: pandemics Random survivors Number of shelters: de- pends of type of catastrophe Number of people: un- known Independent survivabil- ity: months Ability to re-create civili- zation: low Vulnerability: high Best protection against: stochastic events Air planes Tesla cars with biosafety system Number of shelters: many thousands Number of people: thou- sands Independent survivabil- ity: days Ability to re-create civili- zation: medium Vulnerability: high Best protection against: pandemic Price: included Mines, caves and subways Number of shelters: thou- sands Number of people: millions Independent survivabil- ity: days Ability to re-create civili- zation: high Vulnerability: high Best protection against: explosions and acute fallout Bomb shelters and commercial shelters Number of shelters: many thousands Number of people: millions Independent survivabil- ity: days, may be weeks Ability to re-create civili- zation: high Vulnerability: medium Best protection against: explosions and acute fallout Cold war com- mand centers and underground cities Number of shelters: around 10 Number of people: unknown, may- be hundreds Independent survivability: years Ability to re-create civilization: high Vulnerability: could be targeted in war Best protection against: explo- sions, fallout, pandemics Ships Number of shelters: many thousands Number of people: millions Independent survivabil- ity: 1 year for some, may be more Ability to re-create civili- zation: high Vulnerability: medium Best protection against: explosions, pandemics Islands Number of shelters: thousands Number of people: mil- lions Independent survivabil- ity: indefinite Ability to re-create civi- lization: high Vulnerability: medium Best protection against: pandemics Nuclear submarines Number of shelters: 10- 100 Number of people: thou- sands Independent survivabil- ity: around 1 year Ability to re-create civili- zation: high Vulnerability: medium Best protection against: explosions and acute fallout International space station Number of shelters: 1 Number of people: 6 Independent survivabil- ity: 3 monthes- 1 years Ability to re-create civili- zation: low Vulnerability: high Best protection against: short, but covering all earth surface catastrophe (air- borne pandemics) Time Refugesthatarecurrentlyinexistence;Typesofrisks:nuclearwar, multi-pandemics,supervolcanicexplosion Ship wrecks, rafts Number of shelters: de- pends of a type of a catas- trophe Number of people: un- known, maybe hundreds Independent survivabil- ity: months Ability to re-create civili- zation: low Vulnerability: high to natu- ral causes Best protection against: pandemics Distributed net of survivalists Includes hoards with food Trained people Number of shelters: depends of type of catastrophe Number of people: thousands? Independent survivability: months Ability to re-create civilization: high Vulnerability: high Best protection against: stochastic events, pandemics, nuclear war In near space Remote space Doomsday vault facilities which will help to rec- reate civilization by preserving important knowledge, instru- ments, seeds, resources, but not people Number of shelters: now one Number of people: thousands? Independent survivability: months Ability to re-create civilization: high Vulnerability: high Best protection against: sto- chastic events, pandemics, nuclear war Converting ALL existing nuclear submarines in temporary asylums in short notice (~6 months) “Preppers” People, who prepare to smaller catastrophe and stock food Number of people: 3 million people in US Independent survivability: months Ability to re-create civilization: high Vulnerability: high Best protection against: stochastic events, pandemics, nuclear war Food storages, and chemically syn- thesised food, see work of Denken- berger
  21. 21. © Alexey Turchin, 2016, CC3.0 “Clever” houses with reinforcement Number of shelters: mil- lions?? Number of people: millions Independent survivabil- ity: months Ability to re-create civili- zation: high Vulnerability: high Best protection against: pandemics, small impacts and nuclear war Price: high Very deep shelters 1 km deep with independent energy sources Number of shelters: several Number of people: thousands Independent survivability: years Ability to re-create civilization: medium Vulnerability: low to natural risks, high to human hostile action Best protection against: pan- demic Price: very high, many billions dol- lars Risks: it could be places which benefit from extinction event, start an attack or make secret danger- ous research Sea steading Independent living communities at sea Number of shelters: several Number of people: thousands Independent survivability: years Ability to re-create civiliza- tion: medium Vulnerability: low to natural risks, high to human hostile ac- tion Best protection against: pan- demic Price: very high, billions dollars Specially rebuilt nuclear submarine (“project Yellow submarine”) Number of shelters: several Number of people: thousands Independent survivability: years Ability to re-create civilization: medium Vulnerability: low to natural risks, high to human hostile action Best protection against: pandemic Price: very high Risks: could be targeted during nu- clear war Could provide defence against gam- ma-ray burst with large surface radia- tion levels Underwater town seems not to have much value as it would be vulnerable Moon base Number of shelters: one Number of people: dozens Independent survivability: years Ability to re-create civilization: low Vulnerability: low to natural risks, high to human hostile action Best protection against: pandemic Price: dozens of billions dollars Risks: could be converted into nu- clear military base by state actor, and used in nuclear war, or attacked Mars base (Musk plan) Number of shelters: one Number of people: thousand or even million Independent survivability: indefinite Ability to re-create civilization: medium, de- pends of robotics and many unknowns Vulnerability: low to natural risks, high to human hostile action Best protection against: pandemics, impacts, earth-limited catastrophes, including collider acci- dents and grey goo Price: trillions of dollars Risks: could be targeted in space war or participate in it as actor Risks: transportation fleet could be used as kinetic weapon Risks: opportunity cost because of high price Orion nuclear powered generation ship Number of shelters: one Number of people: thousand or even million Independent survivability: hundreds of years Ability to re-create civilization: medium, depends of many unknown Vulnerability: low to natural risks, high to human hostile action, high probability of accidents and failure in- side the ship Best protection against: pandemics, impacts, earth-limited catastrophes, including collider accidents and grey goo Price: trillions of dollars Risks: could be targeted in space war or participate in it as actor Risks: the ship itself could explode, be used as a weapon or a source of weapons, as it has 100 000 nukes for propulsion Risks: opportunity cost because of high price Couldbebuiltusingexistingtechin10-30years Hightechsheltersagainsthi-techrisks,which couldbebuiltafter30-100yearsfromnow Remote moons in So- lar system, comets, asteroids, Oort cloud Use of self-replicating ro- bots and manufacturing nanotechnology for build- ing infrastructure, creation of millions of habitats Number of shelters: millions Number of people: millions Independent survivability: indefinite Ability to re-create civilization: high Vulnerability: low to natural risks, high to unfriendly AI Best protection against: pandemics, im- pacts, earth-limited catastrophes, includ- ing collider accidents and grey goo Price: may be the small, just one first na- norobot Risks of space war or space grey goo Risks of kinetic space weapons Risks of extremely large artificial explo- sions inside gas planets or of the creation of very large nukes Risk of wrong command to the whole sys- tem High speed nano-starships, starting coloni- sation wave Number of shelters: millions Number of people: DNA sam- ples or uploads Independent survivability: high Ability to re-create civiliza- tion: high Vulnerability: low to natural risks, medium to unfriendly AI Best protection against: al- most everything except false vacuum decay and strong UFAI Price: may be the small, just one first nanorobot Risks of space war or space grey goo Risks of laser weapons based in space which are able to target everything Nanotech based homes are able to with- stand any external influences as adap- tive shield Nanotech based microscopic shelters Deep in Earth’s crust, which are running humans as uploads and are in- visible to any exter- nal hostile surveil- lance. Immortal bodies Upgraded human be- ings able to survive in space and any hostile environment Isolated biospheres Closed cycle projects Number of shelters: several Number of people: thousands? Independent survivability: years Ability to re-create civiliza- tion: high Vulnerability: high Best protection against: pan- demics, nuclear war Digital shelters Something like secret location of uploads in global digital network, or secret recordings of human DNA and con- nectome They may help to sur- vive some form of Un- friendly AI, if it is not omnipotent Special anti-ex- tinction shelter in remote place as suggested by Karim Jebari Number of shelters: at least one Number of people: 100 Independent survivability: 30+ years Ability to re-create civiliza- tion: high Vulnerability: low to natural risks, medieum to human hostile action Best protection against: pan- demic, nuclear war Price: from 2 to 15 billions dol- lars Place: secret fertile land (Alaski- an island?) Power: nuclear Special refug- es built exactly to much known type and type of a catastrophe after warning Phil Torres space bunkers Basic independent space station Number of people: 200 in each Independent survivability: dec- ades Ability to re-create civilization: high Vulnerability: low Best protection against: stochastic events, pandemics, nuclear war Very large air blimps

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