US Nuclear Engineer charged for reactor conspiracy

US Nuclear

It was discovered that an American citizen has been sharing internal reactor knowledge with the China General Nuclear Power Company. The engineer, commonly known as Allen Ho, has been charged for exchanging nuclear materials externally without seeking confirmation from the Energy Department. It is thought that Ho has been executing the conspiracy since 1997.

Ho managed (from home) a company called Energy Technology International in Delaware. According to the indictment he was employed as a Senior Adviser to CGNPC. This conspiracy meant that China’s nuclear specialists were able to obtain documentation, reports, technical insights that would only otherwise be accessible to members of the EPRI (Electric Power Research Institue). The Chinese company developed their own small modular reactors using the knowledge gained from the reports. This isn’t the first time China has taken advantage of these violations and this has forced the US to consider the need for stronger agreements.

The Justice Department has revealed that the engineer has paid to use various individual’s services to execute the scheme in the form of two payments: one for $22,698.54 and another totalling to $15,550.20. These people have yet to be identified. According to the indictment, there were a number of Allen Ho’s participants that were anxious they could be breaking the law by exchanging these insights with China. One email to Ho read: “We need to check that there won’t be any legal issues in participating in a nuclear technology transfer to China,”

Mr Ho could be looking at a sentence of lifetime imprisonment, not to mention a $250,000 fine. If it is decided he was acting as an unregistered foreign agent, he could be facing up to 10 years imprisonment.

Michael Steinbach, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch has said that this should remind the USA that foreign organizations want their internal information and that with the correct law enforcement, they will be using various technological tools to make sure these schemes are prevented where possible.  

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