Low temperature a factor in Boeing 787 battery meltdown in Japan: Asahi

TOKYO Thu Aug 7, 2014 9:24pm EDT

An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787 Dreamliner is seen after making an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in  western Japan January 16, 2013, in this photo taken by Kyodo.  REUTERS/Kyodo

An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787 Dreamliner is seen after making an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in western Japan January 16, 2013, in this photo taken by Kyodo.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Cold winter temperatures were a factor in the meltdown of a lithium ion battery that caused a Boeing Co (BA.N) 787 Dreamliner to make an emergency landing in Japan last year, the Asahi newspaper said, citing the conclusions of local investigators.

The battery meltdown on the ANA Holdings Inc (9202.T)-owned plane prompted authorities to ground the global fleet of Dreamliners for more than three months.

It followed an incident less than two weeks earlier at Boston Airport when a battery on a parked Japan Airlines (9201.T) 787 overheated and emitted white gases.

Low temperatures can cause a lithium ion battery to deteriorate, resulting in the risk of a short circuit, Kyodo News reported separately.

The Japan Transport Safety Board plans to release a final report on its findings as early as September, the Asahi said, without citing sources.

A spokeswoman for the accident investigator declined to comment on the report.

Boeing won approval for Dreamliner flights to resume after it redesigned the battery compartment to isolate thermal events and vent hot gases outside the aircraft.

The Dreamliner is Boeing's state-of-the-art plane, built with carbon-fiber composite materials and a powerful electrical system to reduce weight and improve the jet's fuel efficiency.

(This story has been refiled to correct August 5 story to delete incorrect reference in paragraph 4 to the battery being located in an unpressurized, unheated part of the plane)

(Reporting by Tim Kelly and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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