BUSINESS leaders from the region's oil and gas supply chain companies heard yesterday how their technological expertise could win business in the nuclear industry.

Delegates attending the NOF Energy conference, entitled The British Nuclear Industry - Opportunities and Challenges, heard from speakers representing all aspects of the British nuclear industry, including commissioning, waste disposal, maintenance and decommissioning.

George Rafferty, chief executive of NOF Energy, said: "The transfer of technology from the oil and gas sector to nuclear has benefits both for the nuclear industry and supply-chain companies.

"Many speakers have shown that the opportunities are out there. Companies with new ideas and new technologies can be a part of the UK's nuclear future."

Stuart Crooks, station director of Hartlepool Power Station, sounded a note of caution as he called for the industry to put more investment into training.

He said: "Nuclear power will play its part in securing the country's future energy supplies and reducing carbon emissions. But there is an immediate need to underpin the sector's new- build programme with the training and qualification of nuclear professionals."