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E4 Bunker Construction Timeline

Page history last edited by Michael 1 year, 1 month ago

back to the Index or to the team's bunker or to the team equipment page



Cover Story


     United Consolidated Corporation had determined that the cinders from the Aiken Mine are very useful for building corrosion- and infiltration-proof contaminated material storage sites. They purchased the Aiken cinder mine in mid-1983, and eventually decided to also create a toxic waste disposal site at the same area (to be filled once a major amount of cinder extraction was complete).

     In the summer of 1985, among several other announcements, the UCC revealed that the Aiken Toxic Waste Repository had been refused a license.


Selection and Purchase


  • months or years

  • the Project looks for a site they want, and can purchase. It has to be away from strategic targets or any sizeable communities. The purchase was made in 1983 by United Consolidated Corporation, a Council of Tomorrow shell company which constructs toxic disposal systems and sites.


Survey and Prep


  • 2 months (January 1984 to February 1984)

  • checking out the sub-surface, drilling a lot of small vertical holes; initial road work, water well drilling, laying the railway siding at Kelso (the siding and its loading/unloading rack are built by outside contractors); 30 workers on site.


this is a Morrow Project training camp (not the Aiken mine), but built to the same standards


Security and Support


  • 1 month (March 1984)

  • the cover story firms up; installation of security measures, more trailer-home housing for up to 450 persons, workshops, road improvement, arrival and assembly of the laser TBM and the equipment to be used, etc.; 30 workers on site


Mining and Structure



cross-section of a portion of the bunker


bunker plan (not to the same scale)


  • 10-1/2 months (April 1984 to March 1985)

  • this step involves the most "Project staff on site", as the tunnel is excavated (pretty quickly by the laser TBM), forms are built with structural steel, anchor bars and  reinforcing bars, and over 20,000 cubic meters (78,000 tons) of reinforced superdense concrete are mixed and placed.

    • for each cubic meter of superdense magnetite concrete:

      • 450 kg of cement (total 9,000 tons)

      • 1,380 kg of sand (total 27,600 tons)

      • 2,000 kg of magnetite aggregate (total 40,000 tons, 8,000 cubic meters, 94 railway hopper cars). Reinforced concrete made with magnetite has a density of about 3.9 tons per cubic meter. It's mostly used around radiation sources, such as nuclear power plants, hospital X-ray rooms, etc. It's very strong and resistant to radiation.

        • using volcanic scoria, or cinders, was considered, both for economy, security, and resistance to corrosion (the cover story does have some validity); but in the end the Project stuck with their "usual" super-dense mix (volcanic scoria or cinders produce light-weight, weak concrete).

      • 280 liters of water (5.6 million liters)

      • 78 kilograms of reinforcing steel (1,560 tons for the project, which requires 50,000 man-hours at the bunker to unload, sort, pile, fabricate, cut and bend, place and tie)

      • plasticizers and other chemicals

    • how many people employed?

      • big mine trucks can haul 400 tons of load (the Project probably used diesel-electric models, since they were developing lots of big electric motor vehicles). From Kelso to the bunker site, 2 trucks each working 12 hours a day, making the 70 km round trips once every three hours ... 8 truck loads delivered per day ... could move all the aggregate in two weeks, but the trucks are actually in operation for at least two months, with some gaps (including hauling away cinders as part of the deception plan). A railway siding, loader and unloader had to be built at Kelso. 4 drivers, 4 mechanics.

      • 4 semi-tractors, each pulling two 30,000 liter capacity tanker-trailers, made 93 trips total to bring water to fill 4 dozen storage tanks. 8  drivers, 8 mechanics.

      • loading and unloading rack at Kelso, with one locomotive, 8 staff

      • loading and unloading rack at the Aiken Mine, 8 staff

      • 18 or so bulldozers, scooploaders, cranes, "regular size" dump trucks at the mine, 24 staff

      • water tank and pipeline operators, 4 staff

      • 6 miscellaneous trucks (ambulance, canteen, utility repair, etc.) at Aiken Mine, 12 staff

      • shop and warehouse crew at Aiken Mine, 18 staff

      • structural fabrication:  foremen (1 per 8 man crew), cement finishers, ironworkers, welders and carpenters installing structural steel, rebar and forms, anchor bolts, finishing etc. It's about a half-million man-hours of work. Each gang of eight men works one 8-hour shift per day "in the mine", and a shift "fixing their tools, doing laundry, sitting in the emergency response room"; with 8 gangs employed at any one moment (round the clock), twenty-four gangs are needed (really about thirty to allow for injuries, vacations, etc.):  240 staff, producing 1,536 man-hours per day. Thus:  325 days.

      • supervisors, engineers, testers, inspectors, management, computer techs:  24 staff

      • fire fighting and emergency crew, doctors and medics:  8 staff

      • laundry, maintenance men and janitors, audio-video operators: 8 staff

      • 4 concrete mixing and pumping rigs:  12 staff

      • security staff:  24 on perimeter patrol, 9 on gate watch, 8 on camera and radio watch, 18 on general duties (the "minders"):  59 staff

      • total on site at peak of operations:  449 people ... maybe even 500 ... living in 65 double-wides


Finish and Systems


  • 1 month (April, 1985)

  • after the concrete has set:  install doors, painting, environment controls, electrical and water systems, cryoberths, stairs, security, etc. ... about 24,000 man hours, over a month or so (swap out the structural fabrication crew, and remove most of the big truck crews, concrete pumping crews, etc:  about 380 people present




  • 1 month  (May, 1985)

  • putting all the stored items inside, testing airtightness; removal of all construction equipment, placement of "derelict" equipment


Final Closure


  • July, 1985




     Probably about 800 members of the Project worked there at one time or another; some of them were traveling off to another bunker after this one.


"No, sir, I can't tell you where I've been working before here."


     They're all members of the Morrow Project, and about 95% of them have at least a bachelor's degree. They are motivated workers, putting in 48 hour work-weeks; they are one of a half-dozen "major project" construction crews in the Project, and expect to be frozen in Prime Base or major regional command depots.

     Note that the laser TBM is only present for a very few weeks. Other "secret Project tech":  you get your Universal Antibody shots; there's a bio-comp and a couple of med units hidden in the "not the infirmary" trailer; there's a Mk 2 fusion generator acting as a backup power supply; several Med Kits are with the emergency crew and medics; and Resistweave coveralls and vests were in use. While a certain amount of bribery or bureaucratic shenanigans may have been going on with Cal-OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, in theory the construction site could look reasonably "proper" with a few hours warning.

     A notable amount of the security/publicity risk from an inspection wouldn't be from super-Morrow science being revealed, but an engineer asking "why are you running round-the-clock shifts at a cinder mine?"


"The pay is unbelievable, sir."


     There was probably a further backup back story about how Aiken cinders are an essential National Security item; the on-site manager had some phone numbers he could call to verify something like that.  All very Clive Cussler-ish.  


"Yes, sir ... Aikenite, essential to a new bomb, not a word to anyone, could change the course of history, yes sir!"


Comments (4)

Kirk said

at 10:43 pm on Feb 5, 2019

Are you sure they'd come from Cima, not from the SW? The sugar-sand on the road to Cima & the numerous trees seem a problem.

Michael said

at 2:44 am on Feb 6, 2019

Looking over Google and other maps, Kelso makes more sense than Cima I suppose.

Michael said

at 10:45 pm on Feb 5, 2019

Well, they can cut trees and pave the road, I suppose. It's not too important, but the drive to Kelso is a lot longer. I haven't done a roadability study!

Kirk said

at 8:58 am on Feb 6, 2019

The road we drove in on looked like the trucking road for access in / out of the mine. Ready-to-use if you don't mind a rough ride.

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