Current limiters The current that flows between the electrical test equipment and the nuclear explosive must be limited to safe levels during electrical tests conducted on nuclear explosives at the DOE Pantex facility. The safest way to limit the current is to use batteries that can provide only acceptably low current into a short circuit; unfortunately this is not always possible. When it is not possible, current limiters, along with other design features, are used to limit the current. Three types of current limiters, the fuse blower, the resistor limiter, and the MOSFET-pass-transistor limiters, are used extensively in Pantex test equipment. Detailed failure mode and effects analyses were conducted on these limiters. Two other types of limiters were also analyzed. It was found that there is no best type of limiter that should be used in all applications. The fuse blower has advantages when many circuits must be monitored, a low insertion voltage drop is important, and size and weight must be kept low. However, this limiter has many failure modes that can lead to the loss of over current protection. The resistor limiter is simple and inexpensive, but is normally usable only on circuits for which the nominal current is less more »
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