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Snubber circuits are essential when dealing with thyristors because they help manage voltage spikes and reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI). Thyristors, being semiconductor devices, switch rapidly between on and off states, which can lead to abrupt changes in voltage across them. These rapid voltage transitions can cause high-frequency oscillations and voltage spikes, which are detrimental to the thyristor's operation and can even lead to device failure.

A snubber circuit typically consists of a resistor and capacitor in series or a resistor-capacitor (RC) network connected across the thyristor. When the thyristor switches off, the snubber circuit provides a path for the energy stored in the inductive load to dissipate gradually, rather than causing a sudden voltage spike. This dissipation process helps in reducing the stress on the thyristor and prolongs its lifespan.

Moreover, snubber circuits also help in minimizing electromagnetic interference (EMI). The rapid switching of thyristors can generate electromagnetic noise, which can interfere with nearby electronic circuits or equipment. By dampening the voltage spikes and oscillations, snubber circuits help in reducing EMI emissions, ensuring that the thyristor operates more reliably within its intended electrical environment.