Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency have set up the world’s first nuclear fuel bank.

It will help countries bridge shortages caused by snags in deliveries of low enriched uranium for reactors.

It is meant to encourage countries looking to develop peaceful nuclear programs to depend on outside sources instead of developing uranium enrichment programmes.

Enrichment can produce both fuel and fissile nuclear warhead material. Fears that Iran might be using its enrichment programme as a cover to build weapons gave impetus to the idea.

The deal was signed on Monday by Russian atomic chief Sergey Kirienko and IAEA head Yukiya Amano. Mr. Kirienko says the site at Angarsk in Siberia will have 30 percent of the target of one reactor load ready by the year end.

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