batteries and high levels of radiation

I watched the 2nd episode of Chernobyl last night. The accident occurred in 1986. The ending scene sparked a vague memory. In the scene 3 volunteers went into the burning reactor building to open a critical valve. The radiation was so high that they knew they were going to die-as did the people who asked for volunteers. When inside the the building (in the basement level literally underneath the burning core, all their flashlights went out. A very suspenseful moment to end the episode.

It brought back to mind a vague memory that in fact high levels of radiation can discharge a battery. Am I correct on that? I can’t find anything on google. Google is sure I am concerned with either Li-ion batteries or cell phones. Neither apply here. I know the military back in the day ran tests to see what happened to equipment exposed to very high levels of radiation. Pro tip-don’t count on plastic surviving well. Which does make for damaged equipment in the modern world.

I suppose if you ionize bits of the battery, and whatever it’s powering, that are supposed to be insulating you will get current flow and short-circuiting where there shouldn’t be.

What kind of battery, alkaline, lead-acid, mercury, NiCad, etc? It’s ex-Eastern block so who knows what they were using.

They looked like the old 6 volt handheld “searchlights”. So either carbon-zinc (most likely) or alkaline (doubtful. I don’t ever remember a 6 volt alkaline, but then back in the 80s alkaline was pretty cutting edge).

I can’t imagine them being Ni-Cad or any special batteries. By this point in the story the military is in charge and in a hurry.