Washington (AFP) – A Chinese state-owned nuclear power company and a US citizen have been indicted for allegedly attempting to conspire against the United States, officials said Thursday, warning they will pursue anyone who tries to get their hands on sensitive American nuclear technology.
A two-count indictment was unsealed in the Eastern District of Tennessee charging nuclear engineer Szuhsiung Ho, also known as Allen Ho, China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) and Energy Technology International (ETI), the Justice Department said in a statement.
They are accused of conspiracy to produce and develop special nuclear material outside the United States without the required authorization from US authorities — to “secure an advantage to China,” the statement said.
Ho, a naturalized American, was also charged with conspiracy to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government.
US officials allege that Ho and CGN conspired as far back as 1997 until this month.
“Allen Ho, at the direction of a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company, allegedly approached and enlisted US-based nuclear experts to provide integral assistance in developing and producing special nuclear material in China,” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin.
“Ho did so without registering with the Department of Justice as an agent of a foreign nation or authorization from the US Department of Energy.”
Michael Steinbach, of the FBI’s National Security Branch, said Ho’s arrest and the charges send “an important message to the US nuclear community that foreign entities want the information you possess.”
“The US will use all of its law enforcement tools to stop those who try to steal US nuclear technology and expertise,” he added.
Ho, who was employed by CGN as a senior advisor and was also owner and president of ETI, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on the first count.