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Timmins history: More on the plan to move people underground after nuclear attack

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In this week’s Timmins history segment, we return to our discussion of a 1961 disaster plan.  It called for sheltering the population of the mining camp and 50,000 others from across Ontario in working underground mines, in the event of a nuclear attack.

Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann says some of the main stopes would be used as the shelters.

“There was talk about putting a cement floor in, although that might be very expensive,” she read in a report provided by the Chamber of Commerce. “They talked about squaring off the walls and putting cement on them, but they thought that might be expensive too. So people would just have to get used to the fact that they were living in a mine.”

Between 400 and 500 people people would be in each shelter area, sleeping on cots.

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There were concerns about storing food down there, where dampness would make it rot.

“But anything that was in a can, or things like bottles of soft drinks or whatever could be kept on the surface they figured, because even if there was radiation that fell onto the cans, it wouldn’t damage the food.”

We’ll pick it up next week, with more of the shelter plan.

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