Either highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium is needed to construct a nuclear weapon. While HEU is much easier to handle, smuggle and hide, it is the material most wanted by terrorists. Only a few kilos of the hundreds of tons existing are needed for one explosive.
In PRIF Report No. 124 "Highly Enriched Uranium, a Dangerous Substance that Should Be Eliminated", Annette Schaper provides an introduction to the physical basics of HEU. She explains why it is such a dangerous material and discusses opportunities to reduce the proliferation risks posed by HEU.
An international non-proliferation goal should be to seek alternatives for all areas of application that use HEU and thus try to eliminate the need for any future HEU production. Uses of HEU, other than for nuclear weapons, are in civilian research reactors, in medical diagnostics and in military naval reactors.
This PRIF Report is available at PRIF for 10 € or as free PDF download.