The Swiss Constitution Guarantees Its Citizens the Right To a Nuclear Fallout Shelter



At the time of the Cold War, Switzerland took the threat of nuclear attack very seriously, and in 1963 it undertook to provide bunkers for every citizen to take shelter in the case of an atomic attack. Switzerland has more than 7,000 sirens for warning the population in a broad range of possible emergency cases, including a nuclear accident. These are tested annually on the first Wednesday of February. Depending on the type of incident, people would either be told to stay at home and close their doors and windows, or they would be told to go straight to a shelter. They may also be told to swallow a potassium iodide tablet, which is distributed every 10 years to people living near nuclear plants as a precautionary measure. If taken in time and at the appropriate dosage, the pills block the thyroid gland's uptake of radioactive iodine. New houses and apartments are either built with bunkers, or the owners must contribute a tax to their city to secure a place in a government-owned nuclear fallout shelter. Switzerland is unique in having enough nuclear fallout shelters to accommodate its entire population, should they ever be needed.