EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Move To Ban Funding Nuclear Exchanges With China

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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House Republicans, led by Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, introduced legislation Monday to prohibit the use of American taxpayer dollars to fund nuclear exchanges with China.

In a 2011 memorandum of understanding, the Department of Energy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences agreed to exchange “publicly available technical information, data and experience … technical and managerial personnel for visits and short-term assignments … [and] equipment, materials and instrumentation” for the purpose of developing civilian nuclear power. As part of the agreement, Chinese officials have visited U.S. nuclear facilities and American scientists attended conferences in China.

The Protect American Energy From China Act, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller, would end the partnership by prohibiting the use of federal funds for “implement[ing] or administer[ing] any provision of the memorandum of understanding.”

Protect American Energy From China Act by Michael Ginsberg on Scribd

“China is our top hegemonic adversary. There is no reason why we should be sharing our nuclear energy secrets with them. This is simple,” Donalds said in a statement to the Daily Caller. “China has been allowed to get away with the COVID-19 pandemic, spying on us through TikTok, buying up our farmland, flying spy-balloons over our military installations and even operating secret police stations in our biggest cities. I am proud to introduce the Protect American Energy from China Act because we must stand up in the face of these relentless violations of our national sovereignty and say, ‘No more!’ The national security implications of a rising China are too consequential.”

Chinese officials, led by Chinese Academy of Sciences director Zhiyuan Zhu, toured the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee as a precursor to signing the agreement. Built during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge primarily conducts civilian research, according to the Department of Energy.

One year after signing the agreement, Assistant Secretary of Energy Peter Lyons and several other American scientists visited the Sanmen nuclear power plant in Zhejian Province. The Sanmen plant was the “largest joint undertaking in nuclear energy between the U.S. and China” in 2012, according to a report issued by the Department of Energy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

China has repeatedly violated the agreement by redirecting civilian-use nuclear technology for military use, the Department of Energy alleged in 2018. In response, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry banned the export of two types of reactors, as well as any technology transfers to China General Nuclear. (RELATED: Psaki Responds To China’s New Nuclear-Capable, Advanced Missile Tech That Reportedly Rattled US Intelligence)

China currently operates 55 nuclear reactors and has 23 under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. Five percent of the country’s consumed energy is nuclear. The People’s Liberation Army’s nuclear arsenal includes roughly 400 warheads, according to the Pentagon, and it is rapidly expanding that total.