A recurring theme in number theory is that multiplicative and additive properties of integers are more or less independent of each other, the classical result in this vein being Dirichlet's theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions. Since the set of primitive roots to a given modulus is a union of arithmetic progressions, it is natural to study the distribution of prime primitive roots. Results concerning upper bounds for the least prime primitive root to a given modulus q, which we denote by g*(q), have hitherto been of three types. There are conditional bounds: assuming the Generalized Riemann Hypothesis, Shoup [11] has shown that
where ω(n) denotes the number of distinct prime factors of n. There are also upper bounds that hold for almost all moduli q. For instance, one can show [9] that for all but O(Y∈) primes up to Y, we have
for some positive constant C(∈). Finally, one can apply a much stronger result, a uniform upper bound for the least prime in a single arithmetic progression. The best uniform result of this type, due to Heath-Brown [7], implies that . However, there is not at present any stronger unconditional upper bound for g*(q) that holds uniformly for all moduli q. The purpose of this paper is to provide such an upper bound, at least for primitive roots that are “almost prime”.