Senior nuclear industry figures have spoken at an event in West Cumbria to confirm their commitment to making a greater impact.

Academics, politicians and nuclear industry leaders attended the 2019 Westlakes Public Value Convention, hosted by the University of Central Lancashire today, which focused on public value and helping the industry achieve the greatest possible benefit for the communities in which they operate.

Paul Vallance, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's director of communications and stakeholder relations, said: “We must serve and support our communities by maximising the outcomes we get

from every single pound of taxpayers’ money that we spend on addressing social challenges.

“The nuclear industry is woven into the fabric of our communities, so it’s our responsibility to help spark people’s imagination and create an environment where anything is possible.

"I want that sense of innovation and entrepreneurship to grow bigger and last longer than our industry. "That should be our legacy”

Around 54,000 people are employed, directly and indirectly, by the nuclear decommissioning industry, which is worth up to £2.7bn to the UK economy annually.

The Nuclear Sector Deal seeks to grow this highly skilled workforce, increasing and

diversifying opportunities for the supply chain.

Dr Rick Wylie, of UCLan, said public value began and ended with the needs of the community.

He added: “This convention draws upon the expertise of speakers from the UK and Europe and, with a keynote based upon UCLan’s research in this area, the convention will provide insights into public value for policy makers and professionals in nuclear and wider technology and infrastructure sectors.”

Sellafield has the greatest socio-economic impact, the conference heard, with over 40,000 people employed as a result of the work at the site.

Jamie Reed, Sellafield’s head of corporate affairs, said: “Our prime objective is to deliver the Sellafield mission safer, sooner and with the best possible return on the £2bn of public money we spend each year.

“Sellafield is changing, and this presents a defining moment of opportunity to unleash and secure the maximum public value from our activities.

"To do this we need new, longer-term and stronger relationships with our stakeholders, suppliers and communities. We also need to listen to and learn from one another.”

Other speakers due to address the conference today, held at Westlakes Science and Technology Park, near Whitehaven, include Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, James Jackson, head of West Lakes Academy Meg Hillier, chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, Robin Miller-Stott, senior policy and strategy officer, Transport for the North, Lord Liddle, co-chair of the Policy Network and Hazel Blears, who will deliver the Annual Samuel Lindow Foundation Fyfe Lecture.