US intelligence experts are seriously concerned the valuable information will be diverted to power new generations of Chinese submarines and warships.
The moves came just 24 hours after the arrest of a Chinese intelligence officer for allegedly stealing secret information from GE Aviation – one of the world's largest suppliers of jet engines.
It appears to be part of a more concerted effort by the White House to pile pressure on China beyond the tariffs Trump has announced on Chinese goods.
Military experts fear the illicit use of the US's advanced nuclear techonology could speed the emergence of the Chinese military as a force with real global reach, reports the New York Times.
"The United States cannot ignore the national security implications of China's efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of US-China civil nuclear cooperation," said Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Last week we told how Chinese spooks planted tiny microchips into thousands of computers in a bid to steal US secrets.
They targeted up to 30 businesses, including Apple, a big bank and government contractors. The Department of Defence and CIA drone ops may also have been compromised.
Sources said the chips were put into motherboards at Chinese factories by workers hired by California-based Supermicro.
And just this week China announced it was almost ready to unleash its fearsome Hong-20 nuclear bomber.
The state-of-the-art war machine can carry 20 tons of nuclear weapons and fly 5,000 miles without refuelling.
It has been in development for more than a decade, during which China has poured billions into its air force.
The wings have been modelled on the US Northrop Gruman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
That "strategic bomber" was designed to penetrate anti-aircraft defences and drop devastating nuclear payloads.
The trial date for the Hong-20 has not been announced but its unveiling is a huge milestone for the Chinese Air Force.
Little information is available but it will carry CJ-10K air-launched cruise missiles, according to experts at The Drive.
They believe the jet will give China a new "strategic capability to deter potential opponents".
Importantly, the Hong-20 also completes the country's so-called "nuclear triad".
This consists of ground-based ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and the long-range nuclear-capable bombers.
This comes at a time of unprecedented diplomatic tension between China and the United States.
Trump escalated his bitter trade war with China by imposing £152billion of tariffs on goods arriving from the country.
In recent months, the US has also sent its warships to the South China Sea where Beijing has laid claim to dozens of islands.
In August, a leading expert in Asia-Pacific security described the situation as a "ticking time bomb".
Dr Brendan Taylor, Associate Professor at ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, said the world could be counting down to all-out war.
He added: "All it would take is an accidental clash between the wrong two militaries, at the wrong place or the wrong time, and a highly dangerous escalation could occur."
How did the US-China trade war escalate?
When Donald Trump campaigned for election, he vowed to make trade fairer for the US.
Yet his endeavours have seen him fighting with some of America’s oldest trading partners.
The one that’s generating most interest is the conflict with China, as the world’s two largest economies battle for global influence.
By imposing tariffs on Chinese products, manufacturers could be forced to look elsewhere, which could cripple China’s economy.
The dispute started in January, when the US slapped tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels.
So far this year, the US has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods – amounting to $250bn (£190bn) worth of goods.
The first two rounds placed 25 per cent tariffs on $50bn (£38bn) imports from China – and Beijing retaliated by announcing it would place its own 25 per cent tariffs on 659 US imports also worth $50bn.
Now Trump has hit back again, with his latest round of taxes taking effect on September 24.
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