Nuclear power in space? What’s in it for West Cumbrian businesses? We have the answers at Space Week!

20th June 2023

SPACE and the nuclear industry have many parallels, transferable skills and both have unlimited potential. Now is the time for West Cumbrian businesses to look at how they can benefit from this rapidly expanding sector, says James Cornish, just one of the speakers at the Industrial Solutions Hub’s (iSH) Space Week.

James, the Civil and Commercial Space Business Manager at Frazer-Nash, a leading systems, engineering and technology solutions business, is looking forward to returning to Cumbria next week following stints working with Sellafield Ltd and studying at Lancaster University. He said: “I was delighted to be asked back to my old stomping ground. I previously worked in the nuclear industry as a systems engineer so, I’m a perfect example of how skills between the two sectors are transferable.

“The space sector is growing quickly, it has government backing, and there’s a lot of funding available, but where we struggle is skills. West Cumbria has existing capabilities that could be leveraged towards the space sector. It is skills holding back the massive anticipated growth in the space sector.

“Nuclear technology will be an essential part of the future space economy and exploration. Micro reactors, Nuclear Electric Propulsion, nuclear batteries and heaters, are all emerging technology that is needed now. You’ve got the capability to offer that in West Cumbria. 

“The biggest challenge is understanding the market and who the key contacts are. Conferences like this one are a great opportunity to find out what’s going on and to then decide what is right for your business. At Frazer Nash, part of the KBR family, we work with many SMEs and we are actively looking to work with more.

“Plus, space is cool. It just is and it engages everyone from primary schoolchildren right up the career ladder. Come along and let us engage and convince you.”

James Cornish

iSH is hosting Space Week across West Cumbria June 26-30. 

The first two days of the event are devoted to a business audience with a wide range of speakers from the space industry addressing delegates at Lakes College on Monday and Tuesday.

Delegates will hear from James and colleagues from across the sector including Rolls Royce, European Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult, the National Nuclear Laboratory and many more.

The events will also include discussions on how to develop research and development in the space sector and how to attract funding to work collaboratively with universities and other organisations to grow a space cluster.

Miranda Kirschel, iSH Regional Representative said: “Space is an exciting industry for so many reasons and by bringing experts from the sector to the region to talk about its viability as a market we hope we can help businesses access those opportunities.

“iSH is an enabler, acting as a catalyst to help businesses diversify and grow, creating more employment and training opportunities for the local population and helping to regenerate our communities.

“We are confident that people from a wide range of businesses will find Space Week insightful. We also hope that it will lead to tangible business opportunities for companies and organisations in the region.”

iSH is delighted to be hosting a series of events and activities, including business-facing events, R&D focused events and educational activities with schools, to explore developing a space sector cluster in West Cumbria.

In conjunction with Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s Business Bites initiative, businesses are also invited to attend an event on Thursday, June 29, 5pm-7pm, in the grounds of St Nicholas Church, Whitehaven.

“Let’s Talk About Space” features Alan Cross, North West Space Cluster Development Manager from the UK Space Agency, who will lead a discussion designed for local businesses and organisations on space, satellites, the data they gather, how it affects and benefits our lives, and what it could mean for West Cumbria. 

 To book tickets for iSH Space Week’s business events visit:

As well as business events, iSH Space Week will also include a series of events aimed at inspiring schoolchildren about future careers in space. 

Tim Gregory from the National Nuclear Laboratory, BBC Bitesize, and The Sky at Night, will be hosting three sessions of activities for Year 5 and 6 students at Lakes College on Wednesday, June 28. This event is now full but you can add yourself to the waiting list here

Whitehaven Council is hosting a day of Science Shows led by BBC television presenter, author and broadcaster Stefan Gates in the grounds of St Nicholas Church, Whitehaven on June 29.

iSH is also giving schoolchildren the opportunity to “Design a Robot” to help clean up space as part of a national ambition to support sustainability in space.

Find out more here:

 *iSH Space Week is supported by Cumberland Council, Sellafield Ltd, Jacobs, National Nuclear Laboratory, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, BECBC, Whitehaven Council, and the Beacon Museum.