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

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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

NGOs and Experts Demand Nuclear Moratorium in Kazakhstan

The "Year after Fukushima: Current Challenges and Future Energy for Kazakhstan" Round Table was held in Astana on October 4, 2012, organized by CSE partners Ecoforum NGO of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Social-Ecological Fund, and the IRIS NGO.  

The round table was attended by an eminent group of activists and scholars from the United States, Japan, Germany, Russia and Kazakhstan, with use of modern features of the Internet technologies to enable an online dialogue with international experts from Japan (Fukushima), Germany (Bonn) and Russia (St. Petersburg).

The participants including international experts and civil society representatives discussed economic issues of nuclear energy; analyzed socio-economic and environmental consequences of the Fukushima accident; discussed trends in the development of nuclear energy in the EU and Russia, covering contemporary environmental, technological aspects, regulatory issues to ensure nuclear safety and nuclear supervision after the Fukushima accident. The participants learned about Germany's experiences and exit strategy from the nuclear power industry and the transition to sustainable energy. The local experts of the Social-Ecological Fund, Valeriy Zhiltsov and Vadim Nee, presented the national potential for renewable energy generation, energy conservation and energy efficiency. The participants learned about citizens' environmental rights to participate in decision-making on issues related to the development of nuclear energy.

The contribution of high-level international experts to the round table discussion was significant. These included the professor Peter Bradford from the US, professor Bo Jacobs from Japan, Mr. Oleg Bodrov from Russia, and Ms. Katharina Habersbrunner from Germany.

CSE-invited expert Professor Peter Bradford worked as a member of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the United States in 1977-1982, and also has experience working in various federal and state agencies of New York and Maine. Currently Professor Bradford teaches a course at the Vermont Law School on Nuclear Power and Public Policy. He serves on the Senior Policy Advisory Council of the China Sustainable Energy Project and the Texas Vermont Low Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission.  He has also been a member of the Public Oversight Panel for the Reliability Assessment of the Vermont Yankee NPP, the EBRD Advisory Group for replacing the capacities of the Chernobyl NPP in Ukraine, an advisory commission on the start up of the Mochovce NPP in Slovakia and Keystone Center fact finding  project on nuclear energy and climate change.

Peter Bradford traveled from the US to the capital of Kazakhstan to report about Fukushima and the economic realities of nuclear energy use in the U.S. and the world. He came directly from Fukushima at the invitation of the Social-Ecological Fund, Kazakhstan and the Center for Safe Energy in Berkeley, California. His trip was funded by the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

He spoke about the list of events in Fukushima once deemed "too unlikely to guard against", the changed perception of nuclear risk, the US nuclear regulatory response and the areas requiring regulatory attention. He also spoke about the prospect for nuclear power worldwide and the economics of Nuclear Power. His conclusions were that nuclear power cannot compete cost-effectively and is unlikely to be built in countries with competitive power markets and access to energy efficiency, natural gas, coal and alternative energies. In addition, new nuclear reactors have other problems that the quicker cheaper solutions do not, such as proliferation of nuclear weapons, safety and waste disposal.

Professor Bradford noted that "the full impact on people's health from last year's disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan won't be known for years, if ever. But other aspects of increased nuclear risk are already clear: Thousands of Japanese may not return to their contaminated hometowns for many years. The world's fourth largest private utility is virtually bankrupt. The Japanese government in power at the time of the accident has fallen. Four reactors were destroyed live on world-wide television. All of this happened on the watch of a safety regulatory regime previously thought to have been a world leader".

Professor Robert Jacobs is a historian at the Hiroshima Peace Institute at Hiroshima City University. He works on the cultural and social effects of nuclear technologies around  the world. He has published on the emergence of nuclear narratives in early Cold War US, on the response of art and popular culture to nuclear weapons, and the relationship of nuclear weapon awareness to the emergence of the modern environmental movement. He is currently leading the Global Hibakusha Project which is working to link members of radiation exposed communities together across the globe to reduce their isolation and increase their political strength. This project is specifically focused on young people in Hibakusha communities. He was an early voice criticizing the lies put forward immediately after the Fukushima crisis and continues to speak out on the plight of Fukushima evacuees around the world. He offers analysis of how the incompetent and deceitful handling of the Fukushima crisis has led to a breakdown in trust of authorities throughout Japanese society.

According to Professor Jacobs, the earthquake caused the meltdowns in the reactors, and not the following Tsunami. He also intrigued the participants with his ideas of how the recent events in Fukushima caused lack of trust toward the government of Japan, which was a part of the Japanese society for a long time. (here http://youtu.be/xmDbAKmUI8s you can see the entire presentation).

CSE partner Oleg Bodrov, the Chairperson of the NGO Green World in Sosnovyi Bor of Leningradsky Region in Russia, and a winner of the International Nuclear Free Future Education Award in 2010, presented the Nuclear trends in the EU and Russia. "The different strategies for nuclear energy generation in EU and Russia stimulate the development of common environmental, nuclear safety standards for the producers and consumers of nuclear electricity. All stakeholders - the authorities (national, regional, municipal), the nuclear business and the public must participate in the decision-making process on nuclear projects. The nations producing nuclear and radioactive waste must be held responsible for the storage of these dangerous substances."

Katharina Habersbrunner, the Sustainable Energy Manager of WECF Germany, presented Germany's experience and strategy in exiting from the nuclear power. "Germany as an extremely high industrialized country was able to exit from risk technologies like coal and nuclear power." Ms. Habersbrunner holds a master’s degree in Mathematics and Sustainable Management and has vast experience in financial mechanisms for renewable energy.  

The Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), a partner of the Social-Ecological Fund NGO, is an international network of over 100 women’s, environmental and health organizations implementing projects in 40 countries and advocating globally for a healthy environment for all. The network strives for balancing the environment, health and economy, focusing on five key issues including Safe Chemicals, Safe and Sustainable Energy, Safe Food Production, Safe Water and Sanitation and Gender Equity.  In the field Sustainable Energy WECF works for an energy future, free of nuclear power and carbon dioxide and a fair energy distribution worldwide.

According to Ms. Habersbrunner, Germany’s energy turnover is underway. Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, the centre-right coalition under German Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to embark on a sustainable energy turnaround with the long term aim of switching off all of the country’s 17 nuclear reactors by the year 2022. The nuclear phase out isn’t yet the energy turnaround but is a crucial milestone towards a low-risk, economic and free of carbon-dioxide energy supply.

Germany's main issues of successful reorientation of the energy policy include rebuilding from fossil fuel and nuclear power to renewable energy, construction and upgrading of the electricity grid, and an increase of energy efficiency and a national and European energy efficiency directive.

Ms. Habersbrunner argues that ”it is not only an issue for the politics. New business models will be necessary to cope with the “big transformation”, from central energy supply to more decentralized models with high public participation. The behavior and attitude of electricity and heat have also be changed by each citizen. I.e. the energy turnaround is not only a technological thing with new legislative initiatives, but needs the social acceptance and cooperation of a broad citizenship, politics, economy and municipality."

She also emphasized the role of the citizens as crucial. Renewable energies enjoy high acceptance levels in German public opinion and we see a new ownership structure. The expansion of the renewable energy sector is accompanied by a shift in the ownership structure of electricity production. More than half of all renewable energy capacity so far installed in Germany is in the hands of private individuals. Considering the success of the renewable energy so far in Germany, the majority is convinced that the “Big Transformation” is possible to an energy future, which is free of nuclear power and carbon dioxide. There are various ways of a successful energy turnaround. Crucial elements seem to be decentralized energy supply, renewable energy, European climate and energy policy, energy efficiency policy, acceptance of the population and public participation.

The roundtable participants questioned, whether Kazakhstan needs to build a nuclear power plant? What challenges could the country face by adopting the decision in favor of nuclear power? Why Kazatomprom and KazEnergy actively lobby construction of nuclear power plants while the country has already adopted strategic policy decisions on reducing GDP energy consumption, the development of programs for energy and heat conservation, energy efficiency and use of renewable energy? If, according to independent experts, nuclear power does not bring economic benefits, while the costs of nuclear power plant construction, maintenance and decommissioning, disaster recovery become a heavy burden on the national budgets and future generations, what agency specifically and which officials would benefit from the construction of the NPP in Kazakhstan? 

The consultations of panelists and presentations by recognized international experts once again verified the validity of arguments of environmental NGOs regarding the inexpediency of building nuclear power plants and the need to officially declare a moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan. This message was also voiced to the attention of local and national media and press attending the meeting on October 4 in Astana.


2011 CSE Press Releases


CSE partner Natalia Manzurova awarded Nuclear-Free Future Resistance Award on April 10, 2011!  See also her interview on ABC News during her tour in the Bay Area organized by CSE. 


Preventing the Next Gulf Oil Disaster: From the Caspian Sea to the San Francisco Bay

Delegation from Kazakhstan to visit the Bay Area to study industrial pollution and oil spill prevention and response methods.

Berkeley, CA – Kazakhstan, the country with the world’s 11th largest proven reserves of oil and natural gas, which is being exploited by U.S. oil companies such as Chevron Oil, observed the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster with alarm. Because of the development of oil and gas reserves in the fragile ecosystem of the Caspian Sea, many governmental officials and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders in Kazakhstan want to learn about the experience of countries like the United States in averting and dealing with environmental disasters. During the week of February 26th through March 6th, a group of six NGO and local government leaders will come to the San Francisco Bay Area to learn about how the Bay Area and California prevent, monitor and respond to disasters from environmental pollution.

“The Gulf oil spill disaster reinforces the need to share the lessons that US environmental advocates have learned so that other countries like Kazakhstan can avoid such catastrophes,” remarks John A. Knox, Executive Director of Earth Island Institute. “We are honored to host such a distinguished delegation from Kazakhstan and sharing our experiences with them will allow them to bring these lessons back home and make a difference.”

The delegation includes Kaisha Atakhanova, the winner of the 2005 Goldman Prize, the world’s most prestigious environmental award. The delegation will give a presentation about Chevron Oil’s impact on the Caspian Sea at the Brower Center (www.browercenter.org), Berkeley’s LEED Platinum building, at 2150 Allston, 4th floor, on Thursday, March 3rd, at 6:00 p.m.

Delegates will meet with and observe environmental regulation, monitoring and response programs of state agencies like the California EPA and Air Resources Board, the regional office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the City of Richmond, the Mayor of Berkeley, the NGO Global Community Monitor, the California Department of Public Health, and the NGO Tri-Valley CAREs.

The delegation is coordinated by the Berkeley-based Center for Safe Energy, a project of Earth Island Institute. They are sponsored by The Open World Leadership Program of the U.S. (www.openworld.gov), which is the only international exchange program funded by the U.S. legislative branch of government.

Since its founding by Congress in 1999, the Open World program has enabled some 16,000 current and future Eurasian leaders to experience American democracy, civil society and community life; work with their American counterparts; stay in American homes; and gain new ideas and inspiration for implementing change back home. More than 6,000 American host families and their communities in all 50 states have partnered with Congress and Open World to make this ambitious public diplomacy effort possible. Open World currently operates exchanges for political and civic leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

The Center for Safe Energy (CSE) works on strengthening environmental movements in the former Soviet Union. It supports the growth of grassroots, independent NGOs focused on energy issues by linking them with like-minded organizations in the US and other countries.

For more information, please contact Melissa Prager or Do Lee at CSE at (510) 859-9161. For more information on the Open World program, please contact Maura Shelden at (202) 707-8943 or visit http://www.openworld.gov.


Summer 2009: Article-CSE and Russian Partner, Oleg Bodrov Film the Decomissioning of Yankee Reactor

http://www.boothbayregister.com/7_16_09_Maine_Yankee_Decommissioning.htm

 Maine Elena


2009: CSE Press Releases



Recycling: From Kazakhstan to Berkeley

For Immediate Release
04/30/2009

Contacts: Melissa Prager
Elena Ilina
Center for Safe Energy
510-883-1177
cse@igc.org

Recycling: From Kazakhstan to Berkeley

Delegation from Kazakhstan to visit the Bay Area to study recycling and waste management methods

Berkeley, CA – Waste management is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our planet, and the world’s largest landlocked country, Kazakhstan, does not recycle its waste. During the week of May 9-17 a group of five NGO and local government leaders will come to the San Francisco Bay Area to examine recycling and waste management best practices.

The delegation includes Kaisha Atakhanova, the winner of the 2005 Goldman Prize, the world’s most prestigious award for grassroots environmentalism in the world. She will give a presentation at Berkeley’s new LEED Platinum Brower Center (www.browercenter.org), at 2150 Allston, 4th floor, on Wednesday, May 13, at 5:30 p.m.

Delegates will meet with and observe recycling programs with the City of Berkeley’s NGO partner, the Ecology Center, the City of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, and San Rafael’s agreement with local business, Marin Hazardous Waste Management.

The delegation is coordinated by the Berkeley-based Center for Safe Energy, a project of the Earth Island Institute. Their trip is sponsored by The Open World Program of the U.S. Library of Congress (www.openworld.gov), and is the only international exchange program funded by the U.S. legislative branch of government.

Open World has introduced more than 13,000 current and future decision makers from Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union to American political and civic life, and to their American counterparts. In addition to Russia, Open World also operates dynamic programs in Ukraine and has expanded to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan.

Open World’s mission is to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America's democratic, accountable government and its free-market system.

The Center for Safe Energy (CSE) works on strengthening environmental movements in the former Soviet Union. It supports the growth of grassroots, independent NGOs focused on energy issues by linking them with like-minded organizations in the US and other countries.

For more information, please contact Melissa Prager or Elena Ilina at CSE at (510) 883-1177. For more information on the Open World program, please contact Maura Shelden at (202) 707-8943 or visit www.openworld.gov.


From Odessa’s Black Sea to the San Francisco Bay

For Immediate Release
09/11/2009

Contacts: Melissa Prager
Center for Safe Energy
510-859-9161
cse@igc.org

From Odessa’s Black Sea to the San Francisco Bay

Ukrainian environmental leaders survey Bay Area environmental organizations and government agencies

Berkeley, CA – energy crisis, polluting rivers and seas, pesticides in schoolyards, radioactive contamination: these are all issues we grapple with here, in the eco-savvy Bay Area, as well as in Ukraine. The Open World Program of the U.S. Congress will bring a delegation of ten prominent Ukrainian environmental leaders to Berkeley September 19-27, 2009 to survey Bay Area approaches to tackling some of the globe’s most crucial environmental issues.

The delegation will meet with the City of Berkeley’s Climate Action Coordinator Timothy Burroughs, a team of research scientists from the California Department of Health’s Environmental Health Investigations Branch, the anti-nuclear grassroots organization, Tri-Valley CAREs, the Berkeley-based NGO, International Rivers Network, and numerous other agencies.

The Berkeley-based Center for Safe Energy, who is hosting the delegation, is conducting a round-table discussion with the delegation at downtown Berkeley’s David Brower Center (2150 Allston Way) on Thursday, September 24th from 11:30-12:30 p.m. This is free and open to the public.

The delegation includes leaders of various Ukrainian environmental NGOs which are all part of the Khortitsky Forum, Ukraine’s largest environmental NGO network. Alla Aleksandruk from the region of Cherkasy, (a sister-city of Santa Rosa) serves as a Deputy Head of the Regional NGO “Eco-world”, where she works on regional clean air and water campaigns. Also included in the delegation is a member of a regional environmental council, Serhiy Denisenk, Larysa Starodubtseva, Lead Engineer of the Water Resources Office, of the Kakhovka Inter-Regional Department of Water and the Deputy Head of the water resources office of the NGO “MAMA-86-N. Kakhovka”, Tetyana Stolyarenko, President of the NGO “Sozidaniye” which works on sustainable development of the city of Zaporizhzhye.

Open World has introduced more than 13,000 current and future decision makers from Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union to American political and civic life, and to their American counterparts. In addition to Ukraine, Open World also operates dynamic programs in Russia and has expanded to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan.

Open World's mission is to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America's democratic, accountable government and its free-market system. In the past four years, nearly 650 Ukrainians have participated in the Open World Program.

The Center for Safe Energy (CSE) works on strengthening environmental movements in the former Soviet Union. It supports the growth of grassroots, independent NGOs focused on energy issues by linking them with like-minded organizations in the US and other countries.

For more information, please contact Melissa Prager at CSE at (510) 859-9161. For more information on the Open World program, please contact Maura Shelden at (202) 707-8943 or visit www.openworld.gov.


Russian Pediatric Cardiologists visit Children’s Hospital in Oakland

For Immediate Release
10/15/2009

Contacts: Melissa Prager
Center for Safe Energy
510-859-9161
cse@igc.org

Russian Pediatric Cardiologists visit Children’s Hospital in Oakland

Berkeley, CA –Congenital heart disease is a huge problem in Russia; 3,000 newborns die annually due to the disease. Six Russian pediatric cardiologists will travel to the Bay Area on October 17th through October 25th, 2009 to learn from their American counterparts about finding solutions to this and many other pediatric cardiac problems. During their stay, the Russian delegation will be hosted by pediatric cardiologists and co-founders of the Big Hands for Little Hearts Foundation, Andrew Maxwell, MD, and Paul Pitlick, MD., who have travelled to Russia with the foundation to help diagnose, manage and arrange pro bono surgeries for children with congenital heart disease.

While in the Bay Area, the Russian doctors will meet with medical professionals associated with the medical staff of the Oakland Children’s Hospital and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, at Stanford University. They will learn about pediatric cardiac care in the US, how public and private health care is funded and organized, gain knowledge of medical and administrative issues, as well as learn about American management strategies. The experience of the delegation in America will strengthen their network in Russia, as well as establish important ties with American doctors, hospitals and administrators.

Among the Russian delegation of six cardiologists: Julia Kalinicheva, Head of the Cardiology Department, Alvar Mustafin, Anesthesiologist-Resuscitation Specialist, Coronary Care Unit, Andrey Zakharov, Cardiovascular Surgeon, Denis Petrushenko, Deputy Chief of Staff of Surgery, Dina Sabirova, Cardiologist, and Radis Garayev, Radiography Surgeon.

The delegation is coordinated by the Berkeley-based Center for Safe Energy, a project of the Earth Island Institute. Their trip is sponsored by The Open World Program of the U.S. Library of Congress, and is the only international exchange program funded by the U.S. legislative branch of government.

Open World has introduced more than 13,000 current and future decision makers from Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union to American political and civic life, and to their American counterparts. In addition to Russia, Open World also operates dynamic programs in Ukraine and has expanded to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan.

Open World's mission is to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America's democratic, accountable government and its free-market system.

The Center for Safe Energy (CSE) works on strengthening citizen groups in the former Soviet Union. It supports the growth of grassroots, independent NGOs by linking them with like-minded organizations in the US and other countries.

For more information, please contact Melissa Prager or Olga Tretyakova at CSE at (510) 859-9161. For more information on the Open World program, please contact Maura Shelden at (202) 707-8943 or visit www.openworld.gov.