The Japan Atomic Energy Agency plans to start work in July to de-fuel its experimental Monju fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, it was learned Friday.
JAEA put forward the plan at a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority the same day.
Monju is scheduled to be decommissioned in light of the long history of problems with the prototype fast-breeder reactor.
At Monju, 370 fuel assemblies are being cooled in sodium within the reactor and 160 others are being stored in an outdoor pool.
The JAEA plans to first transfer 100 of the fuel assemblies from the outside pool to a safer pool by the end of the year, with all 530 assemblies to be transferred by December 2022.
The de-fueling work will take place in the five-year first phase of the 30-year decommissioning process, which is scheduled to last through the end of March 2047.