Chinese American Nuclear Engineer Sentenced to 24 Months for Violating The Atomic Energy Act

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On August 31, 2017, Szuhsiung Ho, aka Allen Ho, 66, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge, to serve 24 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Upon his release, he will be supervised by U.S. Probation for one year. He was also order to pay a fine of $20,000.

Szuhsiung Allen Ho (photo credit: Knox County Sheriff’s Office)

 Ho pleaded guilty in January 2017 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.

 

An April 2016 indictment charged Ho; China General Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC), the largest nuclear power company in China, and Energy Technology International (ETI), a Delaware corporation with these offenses. At the time of his 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. He 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 the travel to China and payments to the U.S.-based experts in exchange for their services.

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