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Friday, 25 April 2014

Cumbrian firms hope Far East trade mission will lead to deals

A dozen west Cumbrian businesses in the nuclear sector are hoping to clinch lucrative contracts in the Far East.

Britain’s Energy Coast is leading a delegation to South Korea and Japan this week as part of a wider British trade mission to promote products, services and know-how.

Tata Steel, Nuclear Engineering Services, NIS, James Fisher Nuclear, Nuclear Decontamination Services, Westlakes Engineering, Forth Engineering, TIS Cumbria, React Engineering, National Nuclear Laboratory, Shepley Engineers and Resource Marketing have all taken up the offer of subsidised places.

Brian Wilson, chairman of Britain’s Energy Coast, said: “The global nuclear marketplace is vast.

“We have some world-class companies in our supply chain that are more than capable of competing on a bigger stage and Britain’s Energy Coast is helping some to take early but exciting steps.

“This is very much a trip to show what west Cumbrian companies have to offer and to get [Far East] companies to understand that we have been involved in nuclear and decommissioning for a long time.

“It is about making contacts rather than securing contracts.

“Both Japan and South Korean companies prefer long-term relationships so we may well have to be patient and very sensitive to the terrible human cost of the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.”

The trade mission began in South Korea yesterday.

Delegates are due to meet representatives from major companies such as Korea Electric Power Corporation, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Samsung C&T Corporation and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

South Korea wants to increasing the proportion energy generated from nuclear from 32 to 59 per cent by 2030.

It is also looking to extend its experience in decommissioning and to build reactors in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Vietnam and South Africa.

The Japanese leg of the mission starts tomorrow.

It is the latest in a series of high-level visits in the last year to increase awareness of Britain’s UK nuclear capabilities and to help with the clean-up operation following the Fukushima nuclear incident.

Delegates are scheduled to meet representatives from Tokyo Electric Power Company, Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Phil Jardine, business development director at Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster, said: “There appears to be a good fit with what west Cumbrian companies can provide and what the Japanese companies involved in the clean-up post Fukushima require.

“We’ve been advised that Japanese companies will seek to use Japanese resources unless we have something exceptional to offer.

“Our companies may well have that, given our unique skills and experience.

“But if not there is the potential for partnering and licensing.

“Either way, this is an exciting first step and we’re hoping to make a lot of contacts.”

The mission has been arranged by UK Trade and Investment in partnership with British Energy Coast and the Nuclear Industry Association.

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