Highly enriched uranium (HEU)—one of the key ingredients for nuclear weapons—is one of the most dangerous materials on the planet. Significant progress has been made over the past several years to eliminate all HEU from 26 countries and Taiwan. The creation of regional HEU-Free Zones would help cement a global norm against civilian HEU use in much the same way that Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones have strengthened global non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. In many cases, only one or two countries in each proposed regional HEU-Free Zone have small amounts of remaining HEU, presenting an opportunity for countries to take action prior to the Nuclear Security Summit in 2016.
This paper calls for the creation of regional HEU-Free Zones, whereby countries may not possess or allow for the transfer of HEU within their territory.
Vice President, Material Security and Minimization
Senior Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Executive Director, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Center for Nonproliferation Studies