Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Nuclear Plant Batteries

  1. Jul 24, 2017 #1
    It seems that the batteries installed at nuclear power plants would have been one of the largest scale applications of battery technology prior to the development of battery storage stations for utilities. I'm wondering what kind of technology they use(d) and what kind of lifespan, capacity, and discharge rate they might have. If nuclear power had become more common could the demand for nuclear power station batteries alone have helped to significantly advance battery technology?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2017 #2
    I don't believe nuclear power plant batteries are any different power plan batteries in general.
    Here's a wiki article:
    Of course, they've made news recently:
    Also, there is another aspect to this:
    Look about 25% down this page:
  4. Jul 25, 2017 #3
    The batteries in a nuclear station aren't really very large. They provide power to the instruments and controls, mostly. There are a few DC motor operated valves but those have small motors and usually will stroke the valve once under design conditions, to move the valve to the "safe" position. Normally there are 4 safety related batteries. These are just a bunch of lead-acid batteries tied together to make 125 volts DC. Typical size for each is ~1800 amp-hours. If I did the arithmetic right that's about 225 kw-hr each. The plant will usually have a couple more non-safety batteries to power equipment related to the turbine generator. So say six time 225 or 1350 kw-hr. The grid batteries mentioned above are in the tens of MW-hr range, that's a lot bigger.
  5. Jul 26, 2017 #4
    The batteries are "small" compared to a ship. My vital batteries are 58 large cells per division. I have 4 DC divisions in my plant. It's a boiling water reactor. They are normal lead acid batteries with plates. A couple hundred amps at best (although we don't have enough load for that).

    The division 1/2 batteries can only last 4 - 6 hours with load shedding. They do not power any emergency cooling pumps. They do provide valve power for RCIC (steam turbine driven aux feed) and power for the control circuits. They power the vital bus inverters for engineered safeguard logic, reactor protection logic, breaker control power, and a number of accident monitoring indications.

    You can't run any major equipment with them. But the control logic and indications are invaluable, in addition to breaker close/trip power, because when you do get offsite AC power back you need that to close the feed breakers in.
  6. Aug 3, 2017 #5
    So there are batteries for the pumps, they just can't actually run them? I thought the batteries could actually run the pumps and would thus be in the MWh range.
  7. Aug 4, 2017 #6
    The batteries are for control power and instrumentation.
  8. Aug 7, 2017 #7

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    They're about a thousand times smaller than you imagine .
  9. Aug 7, 2017 #8
    Are there any plans to make more extensive use of batteries for future nuclear power plants or modernize existing plants to use them as safety systems?
  10. Aug 7, 2017 #9
    Gen 3+ designs use passive cooling features like elevated water tanks. The batteries are used to open the valves needed for passive cooling and that's it.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Discussions: Nuclear Plant Batteries
  1. Nuclear batteries (Replies: 14)

  2. Nuclear plant working (Replies: 2)