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As missile debate simmers, a German group plans a bunker

(Page 2 of 3)

With two superpowers, he says, there is only one possible conflict. With three superpowers, seven different conflicts are possible; with four superpowers , there are 36 conflict combinations; with five, 171.

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* The completion of nuclear armament in China by 1984. ''Both American and Russian papers have announced this,'' Rohner says. ''The Chinese capacity may be enough to eliminate Russia as an industrial nation.''

* Laser stations in space. By the end of this decade, Rohner says, the race will have begun between the US and the USSR in the construction of antinuclear space stations. If one country gets a large lead in the race, Rohner is concerned that the country that is behind will attack the other out of fear for its own security.

* A growing shortage of strategic resources. As world demand rises, oil and certain metals will become even more scarce than they are now. Economic development - and a lot of military equipment - may depend on availability of resources.

* Acts of terrorism. Rohner says Pakistan has borrowed money from Libya and Algeria in order to stockpile 50 nuclear warheads a year. Pakistan being a poor nation, Rohner says, it is likely to repay the debt - not in money - but in bombs.

''These are the developments possibly leading to war,'' Rohner says. ''It is very unlikely to succeed in avoiding all of them . . . , so we think it is inevitable to do what we are convinced to do.''

A bookshelf along one wall in the office in Rohner's home here in Ungstein is dominated by books about modern warfare, balance of world power, and trends of the future. Filling one shelf are 11 thick binders of materials he has collected , from which he has worked out in detail what would be needed in each facet of building and living in the underground shelter.

Attempting to survive a nuclear war is a chilling thought. In America there is a great deal of debate about whether any structure would offer an adequate shelter from the effects of nuclear war - and whether after a large-scale nuclear conflict there ever would be a habitable environment to emerge into. But for those who share Rohner's determination to try to protect their families and to survive modern warfare, Rohner has an alternative: to go underground. His plan calls for a shelter that would accommodate hundreds of people for 41/2 years.

The planning begins with the entrances. An important requirement is that they provide for decontaminating vehicles, people, and animals before they enter the main shelter. Bacteriological and chemical weapons are a possibility Rohner has anticipated. They are in many cases more deadly than nuclear radiation and do not have some of the drawbacks, such as extended contamination and physical destruction.

To combat bacterial and chemical contamination, airlocks are planned for each entrance. Once inside the first set of doors, a vehicle would be treated to decontaminate it in the appropriate manner.

An adjoining entrance is wide enough to permit cattle to enter. Animals and people would walk through a shallow pool to decontaminate hooves and shoes.

In their air lock, people would put on clean clothing. After they were decontaminated, the second set of doors would be opened to permit them into the main part of the shelter. Entrance to the living and working quarters is gained through a long tunnel.

The tunnel would be deliberately weakened in two places; if an invading army tried to enter the shelter, a charge could be set off that would block the tunnel with several yards of rock. That option would be a last resort. Farther out, the tunnel has a bottleneck where it could be sealed quickly by several yards of soft silicon foam that bullets could not penetrate. TV monitors in the tunnel would permit guards to watch for intruders from a control room deep within the shelter. Switches to open the gates (and activate the foam or tunnel-blocking explosives) would be operated pneumatically, making them invulnerable to the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by atom bombs. This pulse , it is theorized, could ruin any electronic devices it reached. In fact, Rohner plans an EMP-proof room in which to store computer tapes and other items that would be vulnerable.

Air would enter the shelter through a system of tubes reaching out toward the earth's surface. These tubes wouldn't extend to the surface, but would stop in trenches several feet deep. The trenches would be nearly filled with gravel, then covered with enough topsoil so that grass could be grown to disguise their location.