KNOXVILLE, Tenn., April 30 (UPI) -- A former senior employee of a U.S. government office in Tennessee admitted to selling U.S. nuclear secrets to China, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Court records released Friday, from a case kept sealed for more than a year, revealed that former Tennessee Valley Authority manager Ching Ning Guey plead guilty to a charge of development of special nuclear material outside the United States.
The plea agreement states that Guey had access to sensitive and closely guarded information about the development and production of special nuclear material while he worked as a senior manager for the TVA's probabilistic risk assessment division from 2010 to 2014.
"The defendant received warnings and guidance on the restrictions and controls that pertain to the prohibitions against the distribution and sharing of this information with restricted countries," Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley wrote.
At the same time, Chinese-born U.S. nuclear engineer Szuhisiung Ho, who is thought to have recruited Guey to steal nuclear secrets was charged for involvement in selling information to China.
Ho was arrested in Atlanta on a federal indictment charging him, his firm Energy Technology International and China General Nuclear Power of conspiracy to commit espionage. Atchley sought to have him held in Knoxville until his trial, which is set for June 27.
The two men allegedly met at a Chinese American Nuclear Technology Association event in the early 1990s. Court records show Guey received a payment of $15,555 for services in 2013 and 2014 in the form of a check sent by Ho to an address in Chattanooga.
In 2013, Guey also received payment from the Chinese government when he traveled to China at the request of a nuclear power company owned by the People's Republic of China. He provided three Electric Power Research Institute reports, which contained key information about light-water and heavy-water nuclear reactors.
Guey was granted immunity from prosecution for the other offenses outlined in Ho's indictment as part of his plea deal for cooperating in the investigation of Ho and the Chinese Government.