The next operator of the troubled Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor will need to meet a range of safety and transparency standards, including appointing outside experts to help manage the project, according to a report submitted to the science minister Friday.

But the report, by a government panel tasked with finding a new operator, stopped short of naming a replacement for the state-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which the Nuclear Regulation Authority said in November is unfit to safely operate the reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, which oversees the Monju project, must now find a new operator that will gain approval from the NRA. If it fails, it may have to pull the plug on the decades-long project.