The boss of a Workington engineering firm has issued a plea to the county’s politicians to support its continued presence in the region.

John Coughlan, chief executive of TSP Engineering, said the company was on the verge of creating the latest cutting-edge technology for nuclear new-build.

It is working on plans to develop advanced nuclear reactors at its Derwent Howe facility – which could be created on site and delivered to nuclear sites.

Mr Coughlan said the firm hoped the Government and Sellafield Ltd would make the Sellafield site the first in the country to install a reactor.

But, he said, TSP Engineering needed the support of politicians at all levels for that to happen, following the liquidation of its parent company British Steel.

TSP Engineering is a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Steel.

He said: “When we set up TSP as a standalone company, we made sure it was protected. So we are not in liquidation, but we have to make sure that whoever buys the shares which British Steel currently owns – as the administrator will sell them – knows that this is a valuable and important asset for Cumbria and doesn’t move it elsewhere.”

He said TSP Engineering put about £10 million into the local economy, which rose to £50m when its use of local suppliers were included.

He was speaking at an event, organised by the firm, to celebrate its accreditation of a new safety standard.

It is the first company in the world to be awarded the ISO 19443 standard, which focuses on improving safety in the nuclear sector and its supply chain.

He paid tribute to the entire workforce and said it was a true team effort.

Mr Coughlan said the certification was a significant step for TSP Engineering and its work to create the new reactors – the next generation of nuclear new build, which are cheaper than previous proposals.

John Grainger, executive director of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster, attended the event.

He said: “The company should be proud of the work it has put in to attain this new standard. We are extremely happy for them.”