Once envisioned as playing a key role in Japan's nuclear fuel-recycling policy, the controversial Monju prototype fast-breeder atomic reactor will now be scrapped, the government formally announced Wednesday.

The reactor, in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, has been a magnet for controversy, barely operating over the past two decades despite its planned key role.

Wednesday's ministerial decision came in spite of a failure to obtain local support for the decommissioning plan. It was also the end of a process that included a discussion of Japan's overall fast-reactor policy by the government panel.