A US nuclear engineer is facing life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine after US authorities indicted him of passing nuclear reactor secrets to a Chinese state-owned company.

Szuhsiung Ho, also known as Allen Ho, stands accused of passing the information to the China General Nuclear Power Group over two decades.
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Mr Ho, who ran a company called Energy Technology International from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, worked as a paid senior adviser to CGNPC, China’s largest nuclear power company, the indictment says. Beginning in 1997, he arranged for several US-based experts to travel to China for briefings and to answer requests for help from Chinese nuclear specialists.

Mr Ho is also accused of acting as an agent of a foreign government. “China has the budget to spend,” he emailed a potential recruit on October 4, 2009. “They asked me if I could form a comprehensive team to provide technology transfer in design and manufacturing related training, and technical supports … They said budget is no issue.”

According to the indictment Ho’s efforts enabled CGN to access technical reports normally available only to members of the Electric Power Research Institute. The Chinese firm then allegedly used the US insights in its development of a small modular reactor, an advanced fuel assembly programme and verification of reactor computer codes.

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