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One of the significant changes in IEEE 450-2002 was to endorse the use of float current for monitoring the state of charge of vented lead-acid batteries. The position was recently accepted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) technical branch during the approval of TSTF-500. However, in talking to members of the battery community outside of the 450 working group, it appears that the basis for this change is not clearly understood. The purpose of this paper is to examine why the working group endorsed float current monitoring as the primary method to determine state of charge.