Heavyweights in the nuclear sector are preparing to descend on the county next week for the second Cumbria Nuclear Conference.

Hosted by Carlisle MP John Stevenson, the event will take place at Carlisle Racecourse next Friday, September 21, and include several high-profile speakers representing the sector locally, nationally and internationally.

They include Richard Harrington, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Paul Foster, chief executive of Sellafield Ltd; Henri Murison, the first permanent director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Tom Samson, chief executive of NuGen, which this week announced it was cutting its staff by around 70 amid uncertainty over the £15 billion Moorside nuclear power station.

The event comes at a key time for the industry in the county, with doubts cast over the Moorside after talks between Toshiba and Kepco over the ownership of NuGen stalled, and debate heating up over whether Cumbria should put itself forward to host the nation’s most hazardous nuclear waste in a geological disposal facility.

Mr Stevenson said he hoped to build on the success of the first Cumbria Nuclear Conference held in 2016, by bringing together organisations and businesses to the whole of the county benefitted from nuclear developments and opportunities.

Mr Stevenson said he was looking forward to hearing the thoughts from politicians and industry leaders on the key issues facing the county.

“We have to accept there’s a degree of uncertainty about the industry in Cumbria and the UK at the moment,” he said.

“But you have to remember it is a dynamic industry. I’m looking forward to hearing the thoughts of our speakers and having a debate around some of these issues.”

Mr Stevenson said that the event, which is fully subscribed, would also include an announcement on an initiative first mooted at the first conference two years ago.

“I’ve always been keen to ensure the conference is more than just a talking shop,” he said.

“At the last conference we talked about the issue of how professional services companies in Cumbria can work together and support the sector. There will be an announcement about that next week.”

Other speakers at the event include Paul Howarth, chief executive officer of the National Nuclear Laboratory and chair of the Centre of Nuclear Excellence initiative; Trudy Harrison, Copeland MP; Jo Lappin, chief executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership; former MP now chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association Tom Greatrex; Douglas McCormick, chief executive of global project management and technical consultancy WYG and Kate Willard, head of corporate projects at Stobart Group.

International energy and economic development specialist and recently appointed patron of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster (BECBC) Professor John Fyfe CBE, will also host a question-and-answer session involving some of the speakers.

Topics for discussion include Northern Powerhouse, Nuclear Sector Deal, Cumbria Industrial Strategy and an update on NuGen from Tom Samson.

The event is sponsored by WYG, NuGen, UCLan and the Centre of Nuclear Excellence.