Inside the PM’s nuclear bunker with TV studio and months’ worth of toothpaste

Deep beneath central London lies a massive nuclear proof bunker that will house Boris Johnson and the nation's military leaders if a nuclear war breaks out.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed the world to the brink of war, it gives a snapshot into where Britain's leaders could be forced to retreat to if the situation escalates further.

Photographs from The Last Things, which was published in 2008 by photographer David Moore, gave a rare glimpse into the bunker whether the PM would be staying if World War Three erupts and the Prime Minister launches Trident Missiles.

It features a world of briefing rooms, decontamination suites and communication and command and control offices.

It can be cut off from the outside world at a few minutes' notice and has its own ventilation system to allow people to breathe without ingesting outside air.

The Pindar Bunker lies four stories deep, even deeper than the Tube lines which criss-cross the capital, and is crammed with modern technology, including the ability to take over Britain's entire communications network.

Its construction – which took 10 years and reportedly cost a staggering £126.3 million – was finished in the mid-1990s and was highly secret with plans being held back from public records.

More than 100 top politicians, generals and others could live in the bunker, built on the orders of Margaret Thatcher in the Eighties, in the event of nuclear war, a chemical weapons onslaught or another major attack.

It is name comes from Greek lyric poet, Pindar, whose house was apparently spared when Alexander the Great sacked Thebes in 335 BC.

The extraordinary pictures show an interior far from comfortable luxury – a utilitarian style reminiscent of the Cold War of the 1980s, like something from a John Le Carre spy thriller.

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In the pictures, there is a huge bank of televisions like something from the lair of a baddie from a James Bond film, a giant document shredder and a simple medical bay.

There are bedrooms with simple bunks where the Prime Minister would sleep and cupboards stocked with mundane items like shower gel and toothpaste alongside glass cases holding breathing apparatus suits.

When David visited he saw a bookshelf holding titles such as the classic cold war spy thriller The Ipcress File by Len Deighton as well as a sign on the wall reading: “To the Bomb shelter area.”

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Although no photographs of people were permitted David is keen to stress the bunker is not “Cold War nostalgia” and that none of his images would have been made public without approval from the Ministry of Defence.

He said: “It is permanently manned around the clock. And although not everywhere we went was operating it was on standby.

“There was a mess where staff could eat and the rooms were clearly used for briefings of some sort.”

Upon completion of his project, David and the Ministry of Defence convened for a censorship panel.

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He added: “I was asked to digitally manipulate some of the images. Door numbers were redacted and we haggled over descriptions and captions. A reference number from a map of Iran was taken off.”

Pindar is one of a series of shelters scattered across the country which is where the military and the civilian command will hide out in the event of war.

Traditionally the Prime Minister is the only person provided with a bunker for their family – so their welfare does not affect his or her judgment in deciding whether to press the important nuclear button.

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The operational bunkers are off-limits to the public but in January a DIY one built at the height of Cold War fear received a Grade II listing from the Government.

The shelter, constructed in 1982 in Noel Barrett's back garden, is one of the few surviving reminders of the impact the Cold War threat had on the public.

There were spare bunk beds in the tunnel, to help accommodate some of the 600 military and civilian personnel, possibly even the Prime Minister, their collective task being to organise the survival of the population in the awful aftermath of a nuclear war.

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The news comes after Russian forces entered Chernobyl and seized the nuclear power plant, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

The violent attacks may have destroyed a nuclear waste storage facility, according to an advisor to the Ukrainian interior ministry.

Fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in the area in the north of the country may have led to the damage, according to NBC.

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However, these reports are yet to be independently verified.

"Advisor to Ukrainian interior ministry says Russian forces entered Chernobyl and that fighting there destroyed a nuclear waste storage facility," NBC's Richard Engel tweeted this afternoon.

This was initially reported but was later clarified due to a mistranslation.

He added shortly after: "Clarifying: advisor says heaving fighting MAY disturb nuclear waste."

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