A pioneering hi-tech facility which would unlock vast amounts of energy by producing nuclear fusion could be built in Oxfordshire.

The High Power Laser Energy Research project would involve developing the world's most powerful laser to start fusion reactions that would generate more energy than they consume and which could ultimately provide limitless energy supplies.

Scientists from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, at Harwell, are leading the project and after receiving endorsement from the European Commission are confident the laser could be sited in the UK. A decision will be made by 2010.

Another potential site is the Culham Science Centre, near Abingdon.