Thermal Engineering

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 200–207 | Cite as

Extending the Application Field of Vacuum Circuit Breakers to Generators for Capacities up to 400 MW

  • K. Venna
  • Yu. P. Gusev
  • E. P. Oknin
  • G. Ch. Cho
Electrical Part of Thermal and Nuclear Power Plants


The progress that has been achieved in the development and manufacture of vacuum circuit breakers opens the possibility of using them for a wider range of applications at power plants, including as generator circuit breakers. Such characteristics of modern vacuum circuit breakers as increased breaking capacity and high switching life are factors that make them closer in competitiveness to SF6 circuit breakers for generators with capacities up to 400 MW. The article considers problem aspects relating to clearing of short-circuit faults in the generator voltage circuits and interruption of out-of-phase making currents and no-load currents of generator transformers. Conditions leading to a longer period of time to the moment at which the switched current crosses zero are considered. It is pointed out that, unlike the IEC/IEEE Standard 62271-37-013, GOST (State Standard) R 52565-2006 does not specify the requirements for generator circuit breakers in full. The article gives the voltage drop values across the arc for different design versions of vacuum circuit breaker contacts and shows the effect the arc in a vacuum circuit breaker has on the time delay to the moment at which the current crosses zero. The standardized parameters of transient recovery voltage across the generator circuit breaker contacts are estimated along with the contact gap electric strength recovery rates ensured by modern arc quenching chambers. The switching overvoltages arising when vacuum circuit breakers interrupt short-circuit currents and no-load currents of generator transformers are analyzed. The article considers the most probable factors causing the occurrence of switching overvoltages, including current chopping, repeated breakdowns of the circuit breaker contact gap, and virtual current chopping. It is found that, unlike repeated breakdowns and virtual current chopping, an actual current chopping does not give rise to dangerous switching overvoltages. The article also determines the vacuum circuit breaker application field boundaries in which dangerous switching overvoltages may occur that would require additional measures for limiting them.


vacuum generator circuit breaker switching overvoltage transient recovery voltage current chopping time delay to the current zero crossing moment voltage drop across the arc 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Venna
    • 1
  • Yu. P. Gusev
    • 2
  • E. P. Oknin
    • 2
  • G. Ch. Cho
    • 2
  1. 1.SiemensBerlinGermany
  2. 2.National Research University Moscow Power Engineering Institute (NRU MPEI)MoscowRussia

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