A potentially dangerous substance that has been refined to the point where that potential is fully realised.
This term was originally applied to both uranium and plutonium. U235 is the fissionable isotope, but makes up less that one percent of natural uranium. This has to be increased to 90% (by an extremely laborious process) to produce weapons grade uranium. Plutonium for weapons is generally produced in nuclear reactors (the far more commn U238 is easily transumuted to P239) but again it has to be refined to about 95% purity before it can be used to make a nuclear weapon.
Nowadays anthrax is often referred to as being of 'weapons grade', but the usual term applied to chemical and biological agents is that they have been weaponised
. Weaponisation describes the process of making them more potent or virulent, and packaging them for efficient delivery to the target. Weapons grade is the more colorful phrase that looks good on a headline and sounds oh so cool when used by a teen to describe a fart, say, or a fiery chilli. Already a cliche.
A resident of the town of Zmeinogorsk in Altai has handed eight containers of weapons-grade plutonium-239 to the police. Each of the containers handed in by Leonid Grigorov held 50 grams of plutonium. Grigorov planned to receive $8.25 per milligram after reading about rewards for surrendering radioactive material in the local media. However, criminal proceedings were instigated against him for “illegal storage of radioactive substances,” ITAR-TASS news agency reported Tuesday.
Man that J-Lo sure has a weapons grade ass!