John Grainger, Stakeholder Relations Director for BECBC, recently hosted a delegation of business people from South Korea on behalf of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster.
The group, led by Jae Sol Lee and with a focus on the nuclear sector, had already visited the NIA in London and the Nuclear Institute in Manchester. They then packed a lot into their time in Cumbria.
“They are thinking about creating their own Cluster and were anxious to hear how we have been able to grow to such an impressive number over the last decade,” says John. “It’s remarkable to think that the reputation of the Business Cluster has spread to South Korea, but this group had lots of questions about our membership and our meetings as well as our strategy and priorities. We’re recognised as an active cluster that’s doing good work in collaborations and in strengthening nuclear and other local supply chains.”
After a presentation and questions, John took the delegation on a whistle stop tour of the Sellafield area, Drigg and Westlakes to give a flavour of the concentration of nuclear-related activity. “We then went to Energus to hear from Ken McEwan of CONE,” says John, “about how that organisation fits into the picture, including its contribution to the UK Government Industrial Strategy. Finally, the group wanted to visit a key company in the Cockermouth area prior to their onward journey and, at late notice, Craig Hatch from WYG and his team very kindly extended a warm welcome to them.”
With the recent visit of the Government Minister Greg Clark to Seoul to have discussions with the Korean Government, the meeting and conversations were both relevant and timely.
“Korea has a number of nuclear facilities although there has been nervousness in the region after the Fukushima incident and the issue of new nuclear build in Korea is a topic of debate at present before their own Presidential elections,” says John. “Of course the name Kepco came up several times in the discussions and in the context of Moorside and NuGen. There was a focus on the major investment that is currently taking place in Abu Dhabi featuring the Korean AP 1400 reactors which look as though they are going to be delivered on time and on budget.”
“All in all, I think we’ve made useful connections and the opportunities for cooperation and maybe collaboration in the future bode well for BECBC. We’ve just launched BECBC’s strapline as Cumbrian collaboration with global reach and this was a very good example of how that can happen in practice.”