A GERMAN contractor is to construct a huge laser facility in Berkshire to simulate nuclear explosions.
M&W Zander, which is based in Stuttgart, has bagged the deal to build the controversial £100 million facility, known as Project Orion, for the Atomic Weapons Establishment at its centre in Aldermaston. The site is home to Britain's nuclear warhead factory.
The laser will replicate the conditions of a nuclear explosion, since live tests are banned.
It is due to be up and running by 2010.
West Berkshire Council accepted plans for the building earlier this year.
Even if it objected to the plan, it could not refuse as Orion is a Ministry of Defence project covered by crown immunity. The immunity for such projects will be abolished next month.
Anti-nuclear weapons protesters are demonstrating in an attempt to get the decision over turned. The campaigners said they will picket the site.