A Japanese journalist has visited West Cumbria to speak to companies which make nuclear decommissioning kit.

Forth Engineering in Flimby and Createc, of Cockermouth, played host to Kiyoshi Ando from the Nikkei Newspaper.

The two firms have built equipment, originally designed for unique challenges at Sellafield, and has been put into action at nuclear plants all over the world.

Both companies have worked on the Sellafield site, and have benefited from the close UK-Japan relationships fostered by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield Ltd.

Mr Ando spoke to the area’s industry specialists, learn more about the decommissioning sector and see some of the cutting-edge technology being developed to solve some of the world’s most complex nuclear challenges.

The visit, hosted by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield Ltd, was arranged by the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Dr Adrian Simper, strategy and technology director at the NDA, said: “The UK is at the leading edge of nuclear decommissioning.

"We have made real progress in addressing some of the most complex challenges, which involves finding ways of working safely in the most hazardous environments known to man.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to work closely with our Japanese colleagues and share knowledge and expertise which will help them progress their own decommissioning mission.

"I’m looking forward to the opportunities to learn from their experience.”

Createc has pioneered imaging technology which has been tested within Sellafield’s oldest and most hazardous plants.

As a result, the company was awarded a contract to develop innovative radiation sensors for use at the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan.

The firm has also just secured a major new contract with Japanese engineering giant, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Forth Engineering was launched in 2000 by former Sellafield apprentice Mark Telford.

The business is now a global specialist in remotely operated equipment and sensor systems.

Mr Telford believes that having Sellafield on the doorstep gives West Cumbrian suppliers, like Forth, a huge advantage.

He said: “It’s a testbed where we can develop unique skills and technologies.

“Sellafield needs innovative technology to undertake difficult engineering tasks in harsh environments underwater.

“Successfully using our technology at Sellafield means we can then transfer it to other industries like marine and oil and gas, which are looking for similar products.”

Forth has built its own unique facility in West Cumbria, used to simulate ponds and silos filled with radioactive waste, where the robotic equipment is put through its paces before being sent out to work on nuclear sites.