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Circuit Breakers: Not Just a Household Name

When is the last time you’ve had to go to the circuit breaker box in your home when the power goes out to restore electricity? It can happen periodically when an excess of electrical current is flowing through wires that power such household items as lamps, kitchen appliances or even an alarm clock. To prevent the circuits in your house from being overloaded, the circuit breaker is designed to trip, which eliminates possible dangers such as melting wires that can lead to a fire.

Did you know that something as commonly understood as a circuit breaker is an important part of a nuclear plant?

Although significantly larger, but performing the same function as the circuit breakers in your home, Type DS low voltage power breakers are used to distribute electrical power and protect equipment from damage due to electrical faults and overload conditions. 

There can be more than one hundred Type DS circuit breakers in a nuclear plant in both safety and non-safety-related applications. Some of these DS circuit breakers are used as reactor trip breakers, a special application where the breaker does not protect from overload or fault conditions, but rather acts as a switch controlling the power to the control rods. With safety being of utmost importance at a nuclear plant, circuit breakers contribute to that goal; they help to maintain a safe flow of electricity.

From our service center in New Stanton, Pennsylvania (USA), Westinghouse provides new DS breakers, genuine replacement parts and components, as well as provides services to refurbish customer breakers. DS circuit breakers:

  • Are a proven technology that is still manufactured and supported in the industry with replacement parts still readily available, and
  • Use components that are configured to meet original customer design and qualification requirements.
DS circuit breakers, whether new, refurbishment or replacement parts, are a core product offering for Westinghouse’s Nuclear Parts Operations (NPO), dedicated to supporting this product in the marketplace for the long term.

With more than 30 years of experience focusing on replacement parts and system upgrades, Westinghouse is proud to extend the life, reduce operating costs and maximize uptime of existing operating nuclear plants.


Shown in the above photo: Westinghouse utilizes decades of industry experience to expertly refurbish the installed base of DS circuit breakers, represented here by this re-plated primary finger cluster for a Type DS 416 Low Voltage Circuit Breaker. Westinghouse also provides new DS breakers that use enhanced components and are configured to meet original customer design and qualification requirements.