Chinese firm linked to Hinkley Point accused of nuclear espionage

Jessica Morris
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British Government Signs A Deal For New Nuclear Power Plant
CGN is set to take a 33.5 per cent stake in Hinkley Point (Source: Getty)

The Chinese firm which has been lined up to invest in the Hinkley Point C power plant is facing a nuclear espionage charge in the United States.

China General Nuclear Power (CGN) allegedly conspired to steal American energy industry secrets to fast track the development and production of Chinese reactor technology.

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It comes as security concerns surrounding Chinese involvement in Hinkley Point prompted new Prime Minister Theresa May to delay her government's decision on the project, which is expected to meet seven per cent of the UK's energy needs.

CGN nuclear engineer, Allen Ho, is accused of recruiting US-based experts to help develop nuclear material for China, without the necessary approval US authorities. He's said to have arranged their travel to China, as well as any payments.

Assistant attorney general for national security, John Carlin, said in an indictment released earlier this year: "Allen Ho, at the direction of a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company allegedly approached and enlisted US based nuclear experts to provide integral assistance in developing and producing special nuclear material in China.

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"He did so without registering with the department of justice as an agent of a foreign nation or authorisation from the US department of energy. Prosecuting those who seek to evade US law by attaining sensitive nuclear technology for foreign nations is a top priority for the national security division."

CGN is set to take a 33.5 per cent stake in Hinkley Point, with French energy giant EDF covering the remaining 66.5 per cent.