FUSION power could be pumping electricity into the national grid by 2030, an Oxfordshire company claims.
At a meeting in Paris, Tokamak Energy boss Dr David Kingham said experimental work being done now would pave the way for prototype technology in less than a decade.
His firm – based in Milton Park, near Didcot – is developing a nuclear fusion reactor to produce energy the same way as the Sun.
Fusion power is seen as the 'Holy Grail' of energy production because it would use small amounts of fuel to generate massive amounts of 'clean' electricity.
Unlike nuclear fission reactors, fusion reactors also cannot have 'meltdowns' so are potentially safer.
There are different types of experimental fusion reactors, with Tokamak Energy using its namesake 'tokamak' variant, but none have so far succeeded in producing more energy than the amount they require to run.
Speaking yesterday, Dr Kingham said: "Tokamak Energy is unique among nimble, privately funded fusion energy ventures; it is the only business pursuing the tokamak route to fusion, a route with unprecedented global support backed up by scientific consensus.
"We have developed superconducting magnet technology that will deliver exceptionally strong magnetic fields in a compact tokamak and pave the way for the development of a prototype commercial reactor in less than ten years.
"Following this route can deliver electricity from fusion power into the grid by 2030.”
Dr Kingham said Tokamak Energy was set to launch its new experimental reactor this spring, which will heat plasma to temperatures of 15 million degrees - hotter than the sun.
It hopes to produce electricity for the first time by 2025.