There is expertise within the region's nuclear industry that should be exported globally but is not currently being promoted to its full potential, energy minister Charles Hendry told 750 guests at the annual dinner of the Nuclear Institute North West branch on Thursday.
Hendry, minister of state for energy and climate change, said: "I am convinced there are highly skilled people here that we can take to the world and make the UK the kind of global player that we haven't been before."
Hendry told a packed banquet hall at the Point, part of Lancashire County Cricket Ground, the North West could become "the most innovative place for nuclear power in the world".
The region is home to an estimated 300 nuclear-related businesses employing half of the UK's 45,000 nuclear workforce, many in clusters in Birchwood, West Cumbria, and West Lancashire. The decommissioning programme of Sellafield alone is worth £50bn and is scheduled to last more than 100 years.
The annual dinner was sponsored by Amec, Arc, Hima-Sella, URS, Vinci, 235 Consulting, Corporate Risk Associates, North West Projects, RPS, Simon Carves and VNS.