While America tunes in to the latest NBC show and Navy SEAL drama, the Iranians are at full nuclear capacity.

Iran’s sole operational nuclear power reactor has reached full capacity, a senior official has said.

Mohammad Ahmadian, Iran’s deputy nuclear chief, said on Saturday that the reactor at the Bushehr power plant was brought to its “full capacity of 1,000 megawatts” on Friday evening.

The Islamic Republic built the nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian port city with Russian help.

The reactor went into operation for the first time last year at minimum capacity.

Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom also said on Friday that the Bushehr plant was fully operational.

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The facility is a cornerstone of Iran’s drive to become a technological leader among Muslim nations, with efforts such as an ambitious space programme and long-range missile development.

Iran also runs smaller research reactors and is building another power reactor.

The US and some of its allies believe the Bushehr plant is part of an Iranian attempt to develop nuclear weapons, an accusation Iran denies.

The oil-rich country says electricity generation is the main motivation for its nuclear work and that it is for peaceful purposes.

The Bushehr plant is not considered a major proliferation threat by nuclear inspectors whose concern is focused on sites where Iran enriches nuclear fuel, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions demanding it stop.

Nuclear weapons fears

The Bushehr project dates back to 1974, when Iran’s US-backed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi signed a contract with the German company Siemens to build the reactor.  The company withdrew from the project after the 1979 Islamic Revolution brought hardline clerics to power.

Read the rest here at Aljazeera.