graphic of a rayed minaret, cyrillic letteringCenter for Safe Energy – About Us
Supporting Citizens’ Organizations in the Former Soviet Union

photo of a river flowing through a dramatic landscape

Events

Each year CSE hosts environmental leadership delegations. In 2013, we hosted our first social entrepreneurship delegation and introduced our Russian partners to Bay Area organizations who are building innovative solutions to social problems. Highlights of past delegtations are below. 

  • March 2-10, 2012
    Building Sustainable Cities Delegation From Kazakhstan
  • June 22, 12 - 1:30pm
    Climate Change and Human Impacts on Siberian Forests and River Flows
    Brownbag Lunch Presentation by Tamara Burenina, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Feb 26-March 6, 2011
    Kazakh Delegation
    Exchanging methods to prepare for potential oil spills in the San Francisco Bay and Kazakhstan's Caspian Sea
  • March 31-April 10, 2011
    Siberia’s Lake Baikal Delegation
    Working to develop ecotourism on the planet's oldest and largest freshwater lake which holds 20% of the world's freshwater!
  • April 8th at 8am and April 9th at 9am
    A Quarter Century of Chernobyl Events: KPFA Interviews 3 Russian Anti-Nuclear Activists on Chernobyl
  • April 10th, 4 pm
    A Quarter Century of Chernobyl Event: Nuclear Presentation and Chernobyl4Ever Film Premiere
    Event moderated by Joanna Macy

Partners

Overview

people at a tableThe Center was founded by Francis Macy and Enid Schreibman. The Center has been organizing technical and cultural collaborations between Americans and citizens of the former Soviet Union since 1991. The Center has co-sponsored many energy conferences and seminars in Russia and Ukraine, has conducted training and grant programs in Kazakhstan and has organized study tours in the U.S. for environmental activists from those countries.

Macy was a Russian specialist who has made over fifty working visits to the USSR and successor states since 1961. He received the Nuclear Free Future Life-Time Achievement Award for "building bridges between the Russian and American peace and environmental movements." Schreibman has been leading professional exchanges to and from the former Soviet Union since 1986. She is an experienced trainer, organizational consultant and women's rights activist.

Since 1991, the staff of the Center for Safe Energy has established partnerships with environmental activists and energy specialists in the former Soviet Union.

The Center's work currently includes NGO capacity building, women's leadership and civil rights, energy information exchange, local organizing and NGO advocacy campaigns, energy efficiency and renewable energy business development. With its foreign partners, the Center has co-sponsored seminars, conferences, training programs, environmental assessments and exchanges of delegations between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

What does the Center do?

  1. Seeks to phase out reliance upon nuclear energy and fossil fuels by fostering energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy;
  2. Provides training and grants to potential leaders, particularly women, dealing with environmental, social and economic problems in their communities;
  3. Raises money from American foundations and individuals in support of independent citizen organizations in the former Soviet Union;
  4. Focuses on grassroots groups with strong leadership in provincial and rural regions that are isolated from international information and support programs;
  5. Finds American specialists to donate time and expertise to publications and educational events organized by partners in these countries; and
  6. Brings activists from the former Soviet Union to the US to work with American counterparts on common issues.

Mission

powerplant under a blue sky

The Center’s Principal Objectives Are:

  1. To foster energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources in order to phase out reliance upon nuclear energy and fossil fuels in the U.S., former Soviet Union and other countries
  2. To support the growth of independent non-governmental organizations which are concerned with energy issues in the former Soviet Union and to link them for joint efforts with their counterparts in America and other countries
  3. To educate the public worldwide on the environmental and proliferation risks in the transport and management of nuclear waste, in the reprocessing of irradiated fuel rods from reactors and in the use of plutonium in nuclear power plants
  4. To build the strength and effectiveness of non-governmental organizations in the former Soviet Union, and in particular to strengthen women's leadership in those organizations.

Background

Fallout from Chernobyl

The 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe shocked the world. It sparked deep public concern about the safety, security and toxic contamination caused by both nuclear and fossil fuel power plants. In response to these problems, citizen action groups spontaneously appeared in many communities throughout the former Soviet Union.

Today, most of these groups have evolved into active environmental and social welfare organizations with legal nonprofit status. They play important roles identifying problems, breaking the veils of secrecy, educating citizens and influencing public opinion on environmental, social and economic problems inherited from the Soviet Union. In many rural areas, citizen groups led by women provide practical job training and small business assistance programs to create employment opportunities and foster _sustainable economic development.

With domestic sources of guidance, information and material support yet to develop, these citizen organizations depend on private groups in the United States.

The Center for Safe Energy has been working with environmental activists in the former Soviet Union on energy and environmental issues since 1989, developing an extensive network of trusted and knowledgeable partners in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

Activists Need Help

These independent citizen's organizations, motivated by the indelible images of Chernobyl, are dedicated to protecting humans and the environment from radioactive contamination. They identify and expose the nuclear weapons factories, test sites, uranium mines, and nuclear power plants in their regions. They educate the public about nuclear hazards and safer alternatives. They organize petition campaigns and popular votes against the construction of nuclear facilities and for the use of renewable energy sources.

Despite the obvious dangers posed by the region's economically strapped nuclear energy industry and its decaying nuclear weapons complex, the governments of Ukraine and Russia remain committed to nuclear power. The hard-pressed people of these countries, although profoundly distrustful of the atomic establishment since the Chernobyl disaster, cannot provide money to activist organizations for their lobbying campaigns due to economic instability.

International Partners in Action

The Center for Safe Energy addresses the most urgent needs of citizens' organizations in the former Soviet Union. Since 1989, the Center has actively formed partnerships with citizen groups across Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It encourages citizen groups to collaborate, which is a significant departure from the old Soviet system of secrecy, hierarchies and competition.

The Center supports the growth of independent NGOs in the former Soviet Union focused on energy issues, and links them up for join projects with like-minded organizations in the U.S. and other countries. Training seminars, study tours and expert consultations are organized by the Center to strengthen environmental organizations. The Center pays particular attention to strengthening women's leadership in non-governmental organizations.

As Chernobyl dramatically reminded us, nuclear risks are never just a local problem. Promoting safe energy in the former USSR is important for the health of natural and human communities far beyond the old Soviet borders. That's why the Center educates the public on the unconscionable environmental and proliferation risks inherent anywhere in operating nuclear facilities, transporting and storing nuclear waste, reprocessing nuclear fuel, and using plutonium. The Center also promotes the use of renewable fuel sources and energy conservation.

Accomplishments

2010: CSE celebrates 15 years! Partnered with New England Coalition and Friends of the Earth Norway to host a nuclear decommissioning delegation in Maine with Russian partners. Organized waste management and recycling exchange in Kazakhstan with local partner-Eco-Forum, energy conservation exchange in Ukraine with local partner-Khortitsky Forum, and National Parks exchange with Zabaikalsky National Park.

Oleg

2009: Nuclear Decommissioning delegation with Russian partners at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant. CSE is awarded US Congress's Open World Leadership Center Grantee of Merit Award!  Organized study tours for our partners from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia. Expanded our partners in Tajikistan.

Open World Grantee of Merit Award

 

2008: Consultations in Kazakhstan on Public Committees. Partnered with Ukrainians in a recycling delegation to the cities of Zaparozhye, Poltava, and Kharkiv. Organized US environmental leadership exchanges of Ukrainian local government and NGO leaders.

2007: Partnered with WECF Holland and Kazakhstan environmental activists. Organized study exchanges on energy conservation and accountable governance with our Ukrainian partners.

2005-2007: Formation of public government local committees in six cities in Kazakhstan.

2004: Partnerd with U.S. Congress’s Open World Leadership Center as a host organization for environmental exchanges.

2003: Expanded work in the countries of Latvia, Georgia, and Kyrgystan. In Kazakhstan. Lead Human Rights trainings, and Joanna Macy’s “Work That Reconnects” for environmental activists.

2002: CSE staff are continuing to work in Russia, with the Center for Nuclear Ecology and its network of nuclear watchdog organizations, to educate the public and government about the dangers of plutonium reprocessing. They are also conducting "Advanced Leadership Training" in Kazakhstan, for women leaders of NGOs there who participated in earlier trainings organized by CSE and its primary Kazakh partner, the Karaganda Eco-Center. The women will continue to learn about NGO management and capacity-building, leadership skills, grant writing, and on-line organizing.

2001: CSE coordinated, in partnership with organizations in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine and Washington State, USA the "Clean Energy for Crimea" exchange. In April 2001, the first Clean Energy for Crimea conference was held in Simferopol, Crimea, organized by the NGO Ekologiya i Mir and attended by government, NGO and business representatives from around Crimea and from Washington. This was followed in November 2001 by the Crimean delegation's visit to Washington, where they met with their counterparts to explore ways to adapt Washington's successful energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to Crimea. This work currently focuses on overcoming obstacles to investment in wind energy and promoting a joint venture between Crimea and Washington enterprises for manufacture and sales of renewable energy equipment.

2000: Training sessions were conducted by CSE and Kazakh partners in four cities of Kazakhstan to enable women to take initiative and leadership in newly forming non-profit organizations. The same team administered a seed grant program for women leaders of groups addressing social, economic and environmental needs of Kazakhstan.

 A delegation of nuclear experts and activists from the US, England and France was taken by the CSE to Russia to participate in public hearings on the dangers of plutonium fuel (Balakova, Saratov, Rostov-na-Donu, Ekaterinburg) and the IV International Radioactive Conference on "Utilization of Plutonium: Problems and Solutions" in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. (See report in Publications Section)

1999: Delegation of Russian anti-nuclear activists visited US NGOs and government officials on the use of plutonium fuel in nuclear power stations. US energy expert consulted with Ukrainian NGOs and local government officials on developing energy efficiency plans in municipalities.

1998: Organizational development and training conducted by Center staff in Ukrainian cities: Kharkov, Gorlovka, Artyomsk and Ushgorod.  Delegation of national and regional leaders of Ukrainian Environmental Association Green World visited California to study non-profit organizations and energy conservation programs.

1997: Conference on Sustainability in the Next Century in Nikolaev, Ukraine was co-sponsored by the Center and local NGOs. Center speakers spoke on Global Warming and Women in the Environmental Movement in the US. Center staff conducted experiential workshops on deep ecology and women's leadership.  Energy Education Project in Ukraine included three specialists from the Center for technical seminars on energy and the quality and quantity of water in Nikolaev, Kirovograd, Krivoy Rog and Dneprpetrovsk. Center staff facilitated Deep Ecology and Women's Empowerment workshops in each city.

1996: Joint Energy Education Project was carried out in collaboration with local chapters of the Ukrainian Environmental Association, Green World. The Center organized a series of exhibits and technical seminars during the 10-year anniversary observances of the Chernobyl disaster. which took place in cities near nuclear power plants: Nikolaev, Nikopol and Zaporozhe.

1994: The Nuclear Watchdog Project, co-sponsored by the Center and the Socio-Ecological Union of Russia, trained Russian activists to promote renewable energy and energy conservation and provided American specialists for conferences on the environmental impact of nuclear facilities in Krasnoyarsk and Tomsk. The Center also organized two women's delegation to the US of nuclear activists from Russia and the Ukraine. They visited alternative energy organizations, made connections with US counterparts, studied grant writing and development.

1991: Exchanges of US and Russian environmental activists concerned with nuclear energy and radioactive contamination in both countries.

Project Staff

Enid Schreibman-Executive Director

Enid Schreibman

 

Melissa Prager-Program Director
Melissa Prager

Aline Prentice-Financial Manager

Aline Prentice