Tripoli: The United States is to help Libya to build a first nuclear power plant under an agreement to be signed soon, the official Jana news agency reported yesterday.

The Libyan parliament or General People's Committee (GPC) gave its approval for the foreign ministry to sign the deal, Jana said.

"The agreement aims at establishing a nuclear station in Libya to produce electricity, desalting water, and developing the radiochemistry performance at researches centre," it said. There was no confirmation from Washington.

The draft agreement provides for Libyan students to receive training in nuclear technology in the United States and for the establishment in Libya of a regional centre for nuclear medicine, Jana said.

On March 3 Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi renewed a complaint that Western countries had failed to properly compensate Libya for scrapping its nuclear arms programme.