Cumbria is a county famed for its nuclear industry.

Cumberland is host to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority headquarters, the Sellafield site, UK Low Level Waste Repository and National Nuclear Laboratory’s central labs, with the potential for new small modular reactors and a geological disposal facility to be brought to the area in the future.

Cumberland Council leader Mark Fryer is the man at the helm of decision making in the authority.

He thinks that the area has a unique opportunity since the formation of the council: to bring more diverse backgrounds into the industry, gain greater benefits from the supply chain and push to bring new technology to the area.

He said: “There are two complementary schools of thought. We think that nuclear new build is a potential game changer and the push for that is quite broad across the political spectrum. Certainly, most people want us to do it.

“The second is to secure the position at the Sellafield site. The site is the most complex nuclear facility in the world and when it has got good leadership, as I believe it has now, the workforce is at its absolute best.

"When we are talking about decommissioning a plant of that ilk, we are at the forefront of other legacy plants like that across the world. I just think we should look at it as a fantastic opportunity.”

Mr Fryer says he feels there is an “absolute stone-cold requirement” that the community is to get a greater piece of the pie, in terms of the nuclear supply chain, and says the new council has and will continue to act as a “critical friend if needs be” to the industry under his leadership.

“The site provides us with some really good employment and renumeration rates, the negative is that I don’t think we get enough out of the supply chain – out of the £2.8 billion as Cumberland and formerly as a county.

“The business of receiving socio-economic funding pales into insignificance if you can increase the use of the local supply chain by five per cent, because if you’re thinking of £2.8 billion, five per cent of that is a lot of money.

“It isn’t an ask, it isn’t a demand, it’s an absolute stone-cold requirement, because that is what our community deserves.”