A unique fact-finding mission has taken place in West Cumbria.

A delegation of Japanese representatives from the country’s nuclear regulator METI and from the area around Fukushima have been in the county to discover how the nuclear supply chain works, how Sellafield interacts with the community and be briefed on Britain Energy Coast’s Business Cluster.

They met with David Moore, of the West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group, which was set up to provide public scrutiny of the nuclear industry in the area.

He told them how Sellafield interacted with its surrounding communities and how local people were engaged with the nuclear industry and the work local companies in the nuclear supply chain did with schools and local organisations.

Meetings also took place with Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Jamie Reed, of Sellafield Ltd.

Professor John Fyfe, patron of the business cluster and Ken McEwan, of the Centre of Nuclear Excellence, also attended meetings with the seven members of the delegation.

The two-day visit also included tours of PaR Systems at Lillyhall and Createc in Cockermouth.

John Grainger, stakeholder relations director of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster, said: “This is a first – relationship building in a way that the Japanese have never done before.

“Not only are the delegates very keen to learn about the way our supply chain works, but also how to engage with their local communities and how we can share West Cumbria’s nuclear expertise, to help build in an economic relationship as well.”

The event was prompted by a presentation Ivan Baldwin, business cluster chairman, gave to METI and Fukushima representatives in September on a visit to Japan.

Mr Baldwin said: “This is an opportunity for West Cumbria in so many ways. Japan is reaching out to us and there are opportunities out there for Cumbrian businesses.

“They see Sellafield as an icon – the nuclear community is a small one and things that we develop here are already being deployed at Fukushima. The relationship began as soon as the nuclear disaster happened in 2011. People got on planes immediately from West Cumbria to help and firms like Createc and PaR Systems are working out there now.

“This is an opportunity to think globally when we think about our supply chains and Paul Foster, of Sellafield, deserves a lot of credit for that.

“We can sell our expertise overseas; it is diversification within the nuclear sector.”