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Should renewable energy include nuclear?

The US, China, and dozens of other countries are meeting today in Egypt to chart the course of a new international agency aimed at promoting renewable energy.

Greenpeace activists painted a skull surrounded by the symbol of radioactivity on the reactor dome of Unterweser nuclear power plant near Nordenham, Germany on June 22. The protest was aimed to draw attention to the lack of security at the plant in case of a plane crash or an airborne terrorist attack. The banner reads: "Nuclear power damages Germany."

Fred Dott/Greenpeace/Reuters

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A new global effort that aims to make renewable energy more accessible to every country in the world will launch on July 1st.

Governments are lining up to join the first agency that will advise them on how to make a renewable energy transition. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has attracted 108 countries, including the United States and China, which are both expected to announce their membership this week, in a move that experts say could boost the agency's credibility, since both countries are leaders in renewable energy.

But supporters worry that IRENA could be undermined by countries that are trying to promote nuclear power as a solution to climate change and dwindling oil reserves. Today, members will meet in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt to vote on a director general for the group and decide which country will host the agency's headquarters.

Currently, a leading alliance between France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is forming. French ministerial official Helene Pelosse is a nominee for IRENA'S director general and the UAE is lobbying to host its headquarters in Abu Dhabi. IRENA advocates say if the alliance succeeds, the agency would become "nuclear tainted."


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