the grounded terminal of the battery should be
When the batteries in a piece of equipment are
disconnected first when removing the battery
no longer capable of operating it, they should
and connected last when replacing the battery.
be removed immediately to avoid damage to the
equipment from electrolyte leakage.
Never allow salt water to enter a battery cell, as
chlorine gas, which is extremely toxic, will be
Never short-circuit the connections of a dry-
generated. Also, salt water should never be used
cell battery as some types of dry-cell batteries
to wash out battery cases and jars.
will explode when shorted out.
Make sure all terminal connections are tight to
prevent sparks due to loose connections.
NSTM, chapter 313, also states that you should
wear fire-retardant engineering coveralls to provide
flash and fire protection when working with and
Electron tubes containing radioactive material are
around fire and explosive hazards created by batteries.
now commonly used. Some of these tubes contain
radioactive material that has intensity levels that are
dangerous; they are so marked according to
Alkaline Storage Batteries
MILSPECs. The majority of these tubes contain
radioactive cobalt (Co-60), radium (Ra-226), or
Alkaline storage batteries are also rechargeable.
carbon (C-14); several contain nickel (Ni-63); and a
They use potassium hydroxide for the electrolyte as
few contain cesium barium (CsBa-137).
opposed to sulfuric acid used in lead-acid storage
No great hazard exists as long as the electron tube
batteries. Defective or unserviceable alkaline storage
containing radioactive material remains intact.
batteries should not be thrown overboard, as they are
However, a potential hazard exists if the electron tube
considered to be potential pollutants. Disposal
is broken and the radioactive material escapes.
methods are contained in OPNAVINST 5100.19B,
Normally, the concentration of radioactivity in a
chapter B3, and NSTM, chapter 593.
normal collection of electron tubes at a maintenance
Use the same safety precautions for alkaline
shop does not approach a dangerous level, and the
storage batteries that you do for lead-acid storage
dangers of injury from exposure are slight. However,
at major supply points, the storage of large quantities
of radioactive electron tubes in a relatively small area
may create a hazard.
Be sure you are aware of your command's policy
Dry-cell batteries cannot be recharged after they
concerning decontamination procedures before
are discharged. When these batteries are no longer
working on equipment containing radioactive tubes.
usable, you simply replace them with new batteries.
Some important instructions and precautions for the
Do not throw the old batteries overboard, as they are
proper handling of radioactive tubes are as follows:
also considered a potential pollutant. Disposal of
dry-cell batteries should also be according to
1. Radioactive tubes should not be removed from
OPNAVINST 5100.19B, chapter B3, and NSTM,
cartons until immediately before actual installation.
chapter 593. The safety precautions for dry-cell
2. When a tube containing a radioactive material
batteries are as follows:
is removed from equipment, it should be placed
Dry-cell batteries should not be shipped or
immediately in an appropriate carton to prevent
stored in the equipment with which they are
to be used. They may become discharged,
3. A radioactive tube should never be carried in a
generating water in the cells, and the electrolyte
manner in which breakage can occur.
may leak out and damage the equipment.
4. If breakage does occur during handling or
When equipment operated by dry-cell batteries
removing of a radioactive electron tube, notify the
is to remain idle for more than 2 weeks, the
proper authority and obtain the services of qualified
batteries should be removed and then either
radiological controls personnel immediately.
scrapped or stored.
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