Date(s) - 19 May 2022
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


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Paul Methven, Director of the STEP Programme

New types of sustainable energy generation are required to tackle global warming and the climate emergency.  The STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) is an ambitious programme to design and construct a prototype fusion energy plant, which aims to demonstrate subsequent commercial viability of the technology.  STEP is expected to be the first fusion energy plant connected to a national grid and represents the move out of the research phase and the advent of the delivery era for nuclear fusion.  In this talk Paul will give an overview of the STEP programme, its inherent technical challenges and how effective digital management might solve them.  He will reflect on learnings from other complex technical mega-programmes and how a co-ordinated approach to the digital aspects will support effective manufacture, commissioning, and in-service operations of STEP.  Good digital management could eventually become as much a source of value as the physical fusion energy plant, as the world moves to make fusion a commercial reality.  He’ll also cover some of the potential pitfalls and risks in technical mega-programmes which might result from “digital myopia”.
Paul is the Director of the STEP Programme at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). He joined UKAEA from a prestigious career in the Royal Navy, rising from operational tours on sea-going submarines, to complex programme leadership, culminating as Director Submarines Acquisition in the rank of Rear Admiral.  He was made a Companion of the most honourable Order of the Bath in the 2019 New Year’s Honours.
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