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Boeing Dreamliner fuel leak traced to valve-related problem

TOKYO (Reuters) - A valve-related problem caused a fuel leak on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Boston airport earlier this week, operator Japan Airlines Co. Ltd said on Thursday.

In one of several problems relating to Boeing's newest model in recent weeks, about 40 gallons of fuel spewed onto the taxiway in Boston, compelling the plane to cancel take-off and to return to the gate.

"The cause of the fuel leak in Boston was an issue surrounding the valve," a JAL spokesman said.

No reason was given for the problem, which caused the valve to open.

Due to the open valve, fuel flowed from the center tank to the left main tank, and when that tank filled up, it overflowed into a surge tank and out through a vent, the spokesman said.

The aircraft is now in Tokyo and out of service while being checked. No timetable was given for its return to service.

U.S. regulators are still investigating a battery fire on an identical JAL-operated Boeing jet, which damaged the plane and an equipment bay also at Boston airport, 24 hours before the fuel leak.

Boeing defended the 787 Dreamliner on Wednesday, saying it was safe to fly.

(This story corrects throughout to indicate fuel leak was due to a problem that caused a valve to open, not a faulty valve)

(Reporting by James Topham; Writing by Tim Hepher; Editing by Bernadette Baum)