Nuclear, Reactors

Exide Technologies provides back-up power for British Energy

17 June 2005 – Exide Technologies’ Network Power division has secured a contract to supply back-up batteries to British Energy’s Heysham 2 Nuclear Power Plant.

The contract, potentially worth over £1m (£1.8m), is to provide 20 different types of Exide GroE High Performance Planté Lead Acid batteries. There are t24 battery systems used to power Essential Supplies Systems for each reactor in the event of loss of supplies until alternative supplies become available. These essential battery systems are arranged in four battery rooms, which represent the quadrants of Reactor 8 and are dedicated to a particular function in each reactor quadrant to ensure control supplies/closing supplies/Uninterruptible Power Supplies are available for reactor cooling.

Exide was invited to tender for the contract after manufacturers worldwide were contacted by British Energy to supply GroE Planté batteries. Exide had to make a technical case based on the quality and proven track record of the proposed battery as well as proven quality systems of manufacture. Exide’s manufacturing plant in Portugal has ISO 9001 2000 accreditation, and Exide has a track record of supplying other nuclear installations in Germany and Belgium. British Energy also sought independent testimony from Other Nuclear Operators via the World Association Nuclear Operator, from German nuclear operators who have used Exide cells for many years. Replies were received from several operators, and no failures were reported. These companies continue to use Exide GroE cells. Sample product was also subjected to tests and destructive tear down analysis before approval was given.

Exide’s GroE Planté batteries have a Pole Patent, invented by Hagen Batteries, which effectively eradicates crevice corrosion problems that have been described as the Achilles heel of the Planté battery. They also feature a unique totally insulated pole design, which offers high integrity and safety features. The lid is glued to the container utilizing a deep “tongue and groove” design to guarantee leak free performance. They have a proven reliable life of over 25 years – well in excess of their scheduled design life. The range consists of 2V cells and is available in sizes from 75 Ah to 2,600 Ah. For Heysham 2 Essential Supplies batteries, they are housed on racks that are seismically qualified to comply with zone 4 requirements.

Exide are carrying out all on site work which involves removing the old batteries which are then recycled by one of their subcontractors. All new batteries supplied by Exide are test discharged before acceptance by the Station Engineers and connection to the Essential Systems. The batteries will be maintained and monitored on site by British Energy’s own technicians and engineers.

Exide also have contracts to supply batteries at other power stations with a total value exceeding £1m.