Production and Development of Nuclear Material for China
On Jan. 6, 2017, in the Eastern District of Tennessee, Szuhsiung Ho, a/k/a Allen Ho, a naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully engage or participate in the production or development of special nuclear material outside the United States, without the required authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in violation of the Atomic Energy Act. On August 31, 2017, Ho was sentenced to 24 months in prison and fined $20,000. In April 2016, a federal grand jury issued a two-count indictment against Ho; China General Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC), the largest nuclear power company in China; and Energy Technology International (ETI), a Delaware corporation. At the time of the indictment Ho was a nuclear engineer, employed as a consultant by CGNPC, and was also the owner of ETI. CGNPC specialized in the development and manufacture of nuclear reactors and was controlled by China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. According to documents filed in the case, beginning in 1997 and continuing through April 2016, Ho conspired with others to engage or participate in the development or production of special nuclear material in China, without specific authorization to do so from the U.S. Secretary of Energy, as required by law. Ho assisted CGNPC in procuring U.S.-based nuclear engineers to assist CGNPC and its subsidiaries with designing and manufacturing certain components for nuclear reactors more quickly by reducing the time and financial costs of research and development of nuclear technology. In particular, Ho sought technical assistance related to CGNPC’s Small Modular Reactor Program; CGNPC’s Advanced Fuel Assembly Program; CGNPC’s Fixed In-Core Detector System; and verification and validation of nuclear reactor-related computer codes. Under the direction of CGNPC, Ho also identified, recruited, and executed contracts with U.S.-based experts from the civil nuclear industry who provided technical assistance related to the development and production of special nuclear material for CGNPC in China. Ho and CGNPC also facilitated travel to China for and payments to the U.S.-based experts in exchange for their services. This investigation was conducted by the FBI, Tennessee Valley Authority-Office of the Inspector General, DOE-National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from other agencies.