The International Atomic Energy Agency said it has received approval to inspect Iraqi atomic power plants, a routine check that could shed light on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions.

The Vienna-based agency is barred from revealing the date of the inspection."We have been informed by the Iraqi ambassador that we can go ahead with the inspection," IAEA spokesman Hans Meyer said.

IAEA officials will examine the bomb-damaged Osirak plant as well as nuclear fuel processing laboratories and storeage sites, Meyer said, adding that the purpose of the checkup was to ensure that radioactive materials were being "used only for peaceful purposes."

If Baghdad had refused to allow the inspection, it would have been interpreted as a sign that Saddam was moving to build nuclear weapons.