Nuclear power is the only industry that can help Britain meet its environmental commitments – and economic needs.

That is the view of the man in charge of the trade body, the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), who also thinks the next Government is likely to support it, whichever party emerges as the winner.

Tom Greatrex is the NIA’s chief executive.

He is a former Labour MP, who stood down at the 2015 election and was the party’s energy spokesman.

Its membership is made up of more than 260 different organisations, including some of the best-known names in Cumbria, like Sellafield, Carrs Engineering, James Fisher Nuclear and NuGen.

He pointed out that the Government has nuclear power as a key part of its industrial strategy.

“It also helps to address some of the other issues which the Government has been examining for some time,” he added.

One of these is that the Government has signed up to international agreements to dramatically cut the UK’s carbon emissions, reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

New nuclear is considered the most viable way of achieving this, though some environmental campaigners are passionately opposed to it as a power source because of the long-term by-products of radioactive waste.

“There is no perfect source of electricity,” Mr Greatrex said.

“The reality is that we need a balanced mix of different sources to provide us with a secure and reliable supply with less impact in terms of carbon.”

He added: “Even people who do not like nuclear acknowledge that if we did not have it the alternative would be high carbon.”

A new generation of nuclear new builds is set to come online over the next decade, including at Moorside, near Sellafield.

Mr Greatrex said: “West Cumbria is a good place for one of those new build projects.”

He pointed out that this is down to the existing knowledge and understanding which exists in the county – and the expertise already available.

In addition, he thinks there are a lot of opportunities for companies in the supply chain.

“Cumbria is not able to supply every component but it can supply quite a bit,” he explained.

“There is quite a degree of opportunities that have been developed in Cumbria over recent years because of what has been going on at Sellafield.”

He added: “It does not really matter – in one sense – who the Government is on June 9, they will find themselves facing some of the same issues.”

Mr Greatrex also pointed out that two thirds of Britain’s power stations will come to the end of their life by 2030 and there will be a need to develop a policy on how to tackle this, as well as a need to promote strong industries as the country leaves the EU.

Backing nuclear would be one way of achieving both aims at the same time. He thinks both of the main parties will give their backing to nuclear.

“Labour is explicit in saying it supports (nuclear) being part of the mix,” he said. “This is Labour Party policy.”

The Conservatives though have faced some questions after their manifesto made no reference to any form of power other than unconventional gas and renewables.

Mr Greatrex is not too worried by this. “It is an interesting document for people like me who read these things because in very few areas is it explicit about anything,” he said.

“If it mentioned everything apart from nuclear it would maybe concern me to some extent but I do not think there is anything to worry about.”