Russia readies nuclear fuel bound for Iran

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday that the United Nation's nuclear watchdog would soon start inspecting and sealing nuclear fuel bound for an Iran's first atomic power plant.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will take these measures on November 26 to November 29 to a shipment of nuclear fuel bound for the Bushehr plant, Russian state-owned nuclear fuel producer TVEL said in a statement.

"We are ready to provide IAEA specialists with all the conditions they need to do their work," Konstantin Grabelnikov, deputy head of Russia's Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant, which is preparing the fuel, said in the statement.

Russia has so far given no concrete date for when it will send the nuclear fuel to Bushehr, but says it would be sent six months before the plant's start-up.

Because of payment delays, the plant's start-up has been put back to at least 2008, Russian officials have said.

"Russia has formally informed (the International Atomic Energy Agency) that it is ready for the Bushehr nuclear fuel in Russia to be checked and sealed on November 26," IRNA quoted Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, as saying.

"This means, from a technical and legal point of view, the fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant is ready for transfer to Iran," he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Tehran; editing by Ralph Boulton)