A Chinese-born American engineer was arrested by the FBI in Delaware, USA for allegedly helping China build nuclear reactors. Szuhsiung Ho, also known as Allen Ho, recruited a US-based team of experts to help the state-run Chinese nuclear energy company.
A federal indictment unsealed today in Tennessee revealed Ho’s dual citizenship in China and in the US. In China, he worked for the China General Nuclear Power Company while in the US, he owned a company named the Energy Technology International, the Washington Post reported.
According to the prosecutors, Ho recruited the experts from the US civil nuclear industry to provide him with technical assistance. He would often pay them for their services and arrange for their trips to China.
“China has the budget to spend,” the ABC News quoted Ho as reportedly telling an expert in 2009. “China will be able to design their Nuclear Instrumentation System independently and manufactur[e] them independently after the project is complete.”
The Justice Department said that Ho and others were seeking to procure “integral assessment” and “sensitive nuclear technology” in regard to an “Advanced Fuel Assembly Program” and a “Small Modular Reactor Program” in China. They were needed help with nuclear reactor-related computer codes.
“Prosecuting those who seek to evade US law by attaining sensitive nuclear technology for foreign nations is a top priority for [us],” said John Carlin, the head of the US Justice Department’s National Security Division.
Ho is facing charges of conspiracy in unlawfully participating in the production and development of nuclear materials outside the US. If convicted, he can face life imprisonment.
“The arrest and indictment in this case send an important message to the US nuclear community that foreign entities want the information you possess,” the ABC News quoted FBI Executive Assistant Director Michael Steinbach said. “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.”