I How does high level radiation affect lead acid batteries?

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Summary
How would high level radiation, like the radiation released at Chernobyl affect a lead acid battery?
During episode 2 of the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl”, the search lights held by the three technicians entering the area beneath the reactor eventually go out from exposure to radiation. If the search lights were powered by lead acid batteries, how does radiation interfere with and/or hasten the discharge of a battery?
 

Vanadium 50

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What would be the mechanism for any effect at all?
 

ZapperZ

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Summary: How would high level radiation, like the radiation released at Chernobyl affect a lead acid battery?

During episode 2 of the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl”, the search lights held by the three technicians entering the area beneath the reactor eventually go out from exposure to radiation. If the search lights were powered by lead acid batteries, how does radiation interfere with and/or hasten the discharge of a battery?
The phrase "high level of radiation" is vague. What TYPE of radiation and by how much? High level of beta is different than high level of neutrons. Each causes different types of interactions with any material.

Without the details, you will not get a specific answer.

Zz.
 

mathman

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High levels for a shut down reactor usually means gamma rays.
 
The phrase "high level of radiation" is vague. What TYPE of radiation and by how much? High level of beta is different than high level of neutrons. Each causes different types of interactions with any material.

Without the details, you will not get a specific answer.

Zz.
At Chernobyl? Neutron radiation, obviously...
 

Vanadium 50

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Neutrons? I think not.

So you're asking us what a kind of radiation which is hardly there will do to a battery via an unspecified process?
 
I'm not sure if radiation could lead to this, but one of the failure modes of batteries is when the internal separator becomes damaged leading to an "internal short circuit..."
"During an internal short circuit of a battery, the two electrode materials are internally and electronically interconnected, giving rise to high local current densities. Internal short circuits may occur in a lithium-ion battery due to, for instance, lithium dendrite formation or a compressive shock. A prolonged internal short circuit results in self discharge in combination with a local temperature increase. The latter effect is important because the electrolyte may start to decompose by exothermic reactions if the temperature reaches above a certain threshold, causing thermal runaway with potential health and safety hazards."
 
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What TYPE of radiation and by how much?
Well if we consider the scene from the series, enough radiation to kill an adult man in a couple of minutes.

What type I do not know. I assumed the water they're standing in was contaminated by the core, so contained a mix of decay products.
 

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