A U.S. nuclear engineer and a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to facilitate nuclear material development and production efforts outside the U.S. without a permit from the Energy Department.
The Justice Department said Thursday the two-count indictment unveiled Thursday at a district court in Tennessee is for China General Nuclear Power Co. and Allen Ho, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China and employed as a senior adviser at CGNPC.
Allen Ho, also known as Szuhsiung Ho, also runs Delaware-based Energy Technology International.
CGNPC, Ho and his company are accused of conspiring with others to help the Chinese company make a special nuclear material without a DOE authorization required as part of a U.S.-China civil nuclear cooperation pact.
“The federal government has regulations in place to oversee civil nuclear cooperation, and if those authorities are circumvented, this can result in significant damage to our national security,” said Michael Steinbach, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch.
In addition, the parties allegedly sought technical assistance from U.S.-based nuclear experts regarding small modular reactor and advanced fuel assembly programs as well as fixed in-core detector and reactor-related computer systems, DOJ noted.
Ho could face a life sentence in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 if found guilty.
The indictment comes less than a month after Chinese businessman Su Bin entered a guilty plea in a district court in California to charges that he was involved in a conspiracy to breach computer systems at Boeing and several other U.S. defense contractors to access military technical data and transmit it to China.