FUKUI – Kansai Electric Power Co. on Wednesday began removing fuel assemblies from the No. 4 reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The removal is the result of a preliminary injunction issued in early March by the Otsu District Court in neighboring Shiga Prefecture ordering the power utility to halt operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the plant. The court upheld a petition filed by a group of residents who live near the plant in Shiga and are concerned over safety.

The work to remove 157 nuclear fuel assemblies from the No. 4 reactor started at noon and is slated to end around 7 p.m. Friday. The fuel assemblies will be transferred to a spent fuel storage pool.

Kansai Electric will begin to remove fuel from the No. 3 reactor on Sept. 5.

The No. 3 reactor, which was brought back online on Jan. 29, was shut down following the injunction. The No. 4 unit was reactivated on Feb. 26, but it automatically shut down on its own three days later due to a technical glitch.

Kansai Electric filed an appeal against the injunction but was turned down by the Otsu court in June.

The utility then filed an appeal with the Osaka High Court in July requesting the cancellation of the district court’s injunction.