(UPDATE: The technical glitch that delayed the start of the operation was a argon gas leak at the bottom of the container that would hold the IVTM as it was being pulled out of the reactor. Argon gas fills the reactor to prevent air from entering the sodium-cooled reactor. Information from Fukui Shinbun.)
The attempt to remove the 3.3-ton In-Vessel Transfer Machine from the Monju fast breeder reactor was supposed to start in the morning of June 23 JST, and the operation was supposed to be over by now (3:00AM JST on June 24). However, some technical glitches delayed the start, and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) who runs the reactor decided to halt the operation until June 23 night.
From Fukui Shinbun, local newspaper in Fukui Prefecture where Monju sits (5:59PM JST 6/23/2011):
The operation is supposed to last for 8 to 9 hours.
The operation to pull out the In-Vessel Transfer Machine from the Monju Fast Breeder Reactor, which was scheduled to commence in the afternoon of June 23 was delayed till after the nightfall due to delay in preparing the necessary equipment for the operation. If the operation starts sometime on June 23 and everything goes smoothly, the IVTM will be out of the reactor sometime in the morning of June 24.
According to the press release from the JAEA, the operation finally started at 8:50PM JST on June 23. There is no explanation of the cause of the delay. The press release has one picture of the operation, taken at 9:30PM:
There have been doubts expressed whether the operation is technically feasible.