Plaintiffs who won a high court decision to revoke the government’s 1983 approval of the construction of the Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, urged the government Tuesday to abandon its appeal to the Supreme Court.

“The shortcomings in safety assessments pointed out in the ruling are extremely serious,” the plaintiffs and Tsuruga locals stated in a letter handed to Takeo Hiranuma, minister of economy, trade and industry. “We demand that the state seize on the ruling as an opportunity to review the Monju development project at a time when the nation’s finances are in dire straits.”

Other antinuclear groups, such as Greenpeace Japan and the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, joined the clamor for Hiranuma and the Nuclear Safety Commission to scrap the Monju reactor and improve the government’s safety-assessment system for nuclear plant design.

On Friday, the government filed an appeal against the Nagoya High Court judgment, which nullified approval of the plutonium-producing Monju prototype reactor.

The 280-megawatt Monju reactor was built as part of a government policy to recycle spent nuclear fuel in order to maximize energy production.

The reactor began operating in August 1995 but was shut down after a sodium coolant leak at the facility sparked a fire in December the same year.

Local residents sued the government, seeking a repeal of its approval of the reactor’s construction.

Although the Fukui District Court dismissed their demands in 2000, the Kanazawa branch of the Nagoya High Court overturned this ruling Jan. 27.

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