Climate change and clean energy will be top of the agenda at a major international conference next month, organised by a group of Cumbrian young professionals.

Global Reach aims to form global collaborations to help drive the low carbon energy sector forward and is the first event of its kind.

Experts from across the world will speak at the event, in Manchester on November 6, including from Rolls-Royce and the UK Atomic Energy Agency.

It has been organised by the shadow board of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster.

We caught up with Jamie Reed, head of corporate affairs at Sellafield Limited, who is one of the speakers at the event.

Why have you chosen to be part of Global Reach?

Global Reach is a great opportunity for the energy industry to unite around a shared vision of a low carbon future.

I’m a firm believer that the public and private sectors should work together to deliver a future economy that benefits consumers, communities, and the environment.

My message to the conference will be that we all have a part to play in presenting our industry as credible, trustworthy, and ready for the challenge of delivering a clean energy future.

What contribution can Cumbria make towards generating clean energy and helping the UK meet the Net Zero 2050 target?

Cumbria can and should be at the centre of the 21st century energy industry.

We have the skills, expertise, and experience to play a key role in delivering the net zero target.

We were at the vanguard of the first generation of low carbon energy production at Sellafield in the 1950s.

I’m excited by the prospect of Cumbria now being at the forefront of collaboration to meet the net zero target.

What do you think young professionals in the industry can do to continue to move the agenda around clean-energy forward?

Young professionals have a key role in promoting our industry as innovative, attractive, and mindful of its social and environmental responsibilities.

I would love to see them acting as influencers in their peer groups, communities, and on social media to help secure the understanding, support, and advocacy we need to realise our collective ambitions.

How can smaller businesses in the nuclear supply chain contribute to the discussion?

SMEs are integral to the future growth of our industry. I believe they should be challenging organisations like Sellafield Ltd to engage with them more effectively, understand their needs and help address them barriers they face.

We’re committed to doing all we can to help grow a diverse and sustainable local supply chain that underpins delivery of our mission while also grasping opportunities in other industries and around the world.

I would encourage SMEs of all type and sector to engage with us, understand our mission, and take advantage of current and future opportunities.

What role will nuclear play in the future of clean energy supply?

Nuclear already plays a vital role, providing about 20 per cent of the UK’s current electricity demand.

It is the original low carbon energy source. Calder Hall, at Sellafield, was the world’s first nuclear power station. It provided a template for the growth of the civil nuclear industry around the world.

The industry has a key role to play as part of a low carbon energy mix, whether through new nuclear power stations, small modular reactors, or fusion technology.

The roles of Sellafield and the NDA are to demonstrate that the nuclear industry can safely, securely, and cost effectively deal with its waste legacy.

What would you see as the next three milestones for the nuclear industry to help Britain meet its net zero target?

No single industry can tackle this alone. We need to unite across industries and engage with government, regulators, academia, and the public.

The nuclear industry has a part to play but I don’t see it as milestone-driven, it’s about attitudes, mindset, and behaviour.

How important is nuclear when it comes to meeting the needs of a growing electricity demand?

Nuclear has a part to play but, again, we can’t do it alone. There’s needs to be consensus across industry and government around an agenda that ensures we promote clean growth while also protecting and growing our economy to the benefit of everyone.

Do you think there is a greater chance of success with younger people taking the agenda forward? Young people are crucial to this agenda. The climate action movement is already bringing the issue to the attention of the media and governments worldwide.

I would encourage young people to continue to make the moral, environmental, and economic case for clean energy growth. Do everything you can to make sure the world is listening.

It is the greatest challenge we face and failure to address it has potentially catastrophic consequences. I think young people instinctively understand the threat that climate change poses and the urgency and seriousness of the response required.

Do you think young people are more open to nuclear power, given the CND generation’s scepticism/ opposition?

I think there is a broad consensus now that nuclear has an important role to play in the energy mix if we are to deliver on our commitments to reducing carbon.

But we should never be complacent; trust has to be earned. It’s essential the industry continues to be open and transparent about its challenges as well as its achievements.

We can only expect younger people to support us if we continue to engage with them, listen to their concerns, and earn their trust.

How positive are you that the UK meets the Net Zero target and what does it need to do?

I’m a great believer in the power of collaborative action. Nothing is impossible if set our minds to it.

What does Cumbria need to do to play a meaningful role, if not lead, on this issue?

I think we need to listen, work together and be positive.