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Plan OK’d to redesign jet’s battery

WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a Boeing Co. plan to redesign the 787 Dreamliner’s lithium-ion batteries, although extensive testing will be needed before passengers fly on the plane again.

The plan includes a redesign of internal battery components to minimize the possibility of short-circuiting, better insulation of the battery’s eight cells, and a new containment and venting system.

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The 50-jet 787 fleet has been grounded since Jan. 16, following a battery fire on a Dreamliner parked in Boston and a smoking battery that led to an emergency landing by other another 787 in Japan.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a short-circuit in one cell caused a battery in the jet in Boston to overheat and burst into flame.

But investigators in Japan have suggested that something else may have caused the battery on an All Nippon Airways 787 to emit smoke, possibly a surge of current from another part of the plane.

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