MOSCOW (AP) _ The World Bank on Tuesday released a much-needed $250-million loan disbursement to Russia, meant to speed reforms in its struggling coal industry.

The bank gave Russia the first installment of this year's $500 million loan in June. It threatened to delay the latest, however, when Russia failed to meet important conditions on providing subsidies to coal-producing regions and restructuring the industry.

Specifically, the bank pressed Russia to pay for its social obligations in various coal mining regions directly, rather than through the budget of the money-losing state coal company, Rosugol.

``We are expecting social payments of 900 billion rubles to go to the regions almost immediately,'' said Vadim Voronin, division head for the World Bank in Moscow. ``These payments will not go through Rosugol, but to the regions.''

Release of the second installment Tuesday should open the way to talks on another $500 million loan for the coal industry next year, officials said. The World Bank mission left Russia last week after traveling to several coal-producing regions to check compliance under the loan.

A nationwide coal strike this month also was instrumental in forcing the government to meet its spending commitments and speed reforms in the industry.