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An RV that can withstand nuclear radiation

CHICAGO - Two private U.S. companies have designs on building the first luxury recreational vehicle that could withstand nuclear radiation.

Parliament Coach Corp., a privately held company in Clearwater, Florida, which converts Prevost buses into high-end RVs, has partnered with Homeland Defense Vehicles to offer consumers a luxury motor coach that can protect occupants against nuclear radiation from dirty bombs as well as biological and chemical attacks.

The idea is to offer the option on the pricey vehicles to consumers worried about terror attacks, officials for both companies said Tuesday.

"Many people enjoy the RV lifestyle, but we also live in an era when people have some level of fear about terrorism," Parliament Chief Executive Harvey Mitchell said in a statement. "These concerns about terrorism are linked to states where people with RVs like to travel."

The vehicles, costing from $1.2 million to $2 million, will be introduced Wednesday at the Tampa Super RV Show in Florida.

Parliament takes the Prevost buses, which are like transit buses without seats, and adds a luxury interior that sleeps from two to four people, while also providing such amenities as a satellite navigation system and plasma televisions.

The RVs run from $1.1 million to $1.9 million, including a trailer, Parliament said. The filtration system, which uses positive air pressure, will be an option costing about $100,000, added Parliament, which builds 12 high-end RVs a year.

Occupants could live for several days in the custom-built motor coach, said Daniel Ayres, president and CEO of Homeland Defense, a privately held company based in Newton, Texas, which makes mobile medical and command center vehicles for universities, county and state governments, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Last week, Homeland Defense introduced a similar filtration system for the luxury version of the Medium Tactical Vehicle used by the U.S. Army and built by Stewart & Stevenson Services Inc.

The vehicle, dubbed "Bad Boy Heavy Muscle Truck," weighs more than 13,000 pounds, is 10 feet high and 21 feet long, and has a ground clearance of almost 2 feet. Homeland Defense hopes to sell 50 of the Bad Boy HMTs this year at prices as high as $750,000.

(12 January 2005)

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