The Chinese engineer accused of conspiring to develop nuclear material for the Chinese government is set to plead guilty.
U.S. District Court records show Allen Ho will appear 1:30 p.m. Friday before U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan.
A grand jury indicted Ho,a naturalized U.S. citizen, in 2016, accusing him of recruiting people to secure privileged nuclear information without the approval of the U.S. Department of Energy. He's also charged with acting as an agent "of a foreign government" while in the United States.
A nuclear engineer, Ho was employed by the China General Nuclear Power Co., a government entity. He also owns a U.S. firm called Energy Technology International, according to the government.
Prosecutors allege Ho recruited American experts including a TVA manager to help in his quest for nuclear information. Ching Ning Guey, a former friend of Ho's, already has pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing in February.
Guey admitted in 2015 participating in the development of special nuclear material outside of the United States, according to documents.That's a federal law specifically designed to protect U.S. nuclear interests.
Ho and Guey had known each other since the early 1990s, the government alleges, and Ho recruited Guey to help him give the Chinese information about nuclear technologies.
The objective was to enable China General Nuclear Power to design and manufacture "certain components for nuclear reactors more quickly by reducing the time and financial costs of research and development."
In the early 1990s, Guey worked for Florida Power & Light before eventually taking a job as a senior manager for probabilistic risk assessment in TVA's Nuclear Power Group. He was with TVA from April 2010-September 2014.
Ho recruited other American experts to help in his quest, according to the government.
The FBI investigated the case as well as TVA's Officer of the Inspector General. Others involved include the National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
(© 2017 WBIR)