Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency has restarted a controversial nuclear reactor, more than 14 years after operation was suspended.

A spokesman for the agency said work began at the plutonium-fired reactor in the northern fishing town of Tsuruga after the government gave the go-ahead, reports the BBC.

The facility, called Monju, was shut down in 1995 following a fire.

The accident and cover-up created widespread public concern over the safety of nuclear power.

The plant uses plutonium fuel instead of conventional uranium and produces radioactive substances that can be reused as fuel.

Monju is expected to reach operational levels this weekend and full output by the spring of 2013.