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

photo of a river flowing through a dramatic landscape


Each year CSE hosts environmental leadership delegations. This year, we are planning a delegation of energy efficiency experts from Rivne, Ukraine, to the Bay Area. In 2014, we hosted in Austin, TX a delegation of young environmental leaders from Kazakhstan.  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 other past delegations 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


Creating Partnerships with the Former Soviet Union

In the Field in Ukraine

The Center for Safe Energy (CSE) addresses the most urgent needs of citizen-based organizations in the former Soviet Union (FSU). Since 1989, the Center has actively formed partnerships with environmental citizen groups around energy issues across Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. CSE supports its partners by sending experts to provide technical assistance in the FSU and organizing professional delegations to the US.







GOODBYE LETTER     July 11, 2017              


Dear Friends, 

After twenty-two years of successful work in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, we celebrate having worked ourselves out of a job. We are closing the Center for Safe Energy on a high note.

     When we began in 1995, environmental activists were small groups monitoring nuclear plants. They knew very little about the means for energy conservation and the promise of alternative energy. They were eager for up-to-date information, strategic planning, use of volunteers, grant writing, and monitoring. Their networks were weak or non-existent. The activists felt isolated from each other and from the international environmental community. Philanthropy was non-existent in the former Soviet countries. The safety net had fallen apart with the breakup of the Soviet Union. There was little money available for rural groups, few programs for disabled, elderly, and other disadvantaged groups. There was no money for tiny rural entrepreneurs.

     What a change we see after twenty-two years! The activists are now well trained and knowledgeable. “In Kazakhstan, all the strong women leaders were trained by you,” said a US Embassy staff person. The Internet narrowed the information gap.  The activists are now part of the international environmental community.

     At first, European government and foundation money supplanted US government money for NGOs.  Unfortunately, these funds too are decreasing and forcing the well-trained activists to work for the UN or other international agencies. Many small non-profits do not have funding to carry on their projects while government and foundations concentrate on areas of the world of more strategic importance or greater need. The grassroots NGO’s continue to be grateful for help in fundraising in the United States or Europe.

     I have just returned from an inspiring trip to the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, where I gave the keynote speech at a ceremony to honor the winners of a new young environmental activist competition. EcoForum, the major network of environmental activists started by Goldman Prize winner, Kaisha Atakhanova, spearheaded the idea. I felt great mutual respect and gratitude from colleagues in Kazakhstan with whom we have worked together for almost 20 years. In the past few years, our environmental partners in Russia, considered suspect by the pro government forces, are having a particularly difficult time. Many have closed their non-profits, a few have been imprisoned, some have moved to other countries, and some are still bravely pursuing their goals.

     As the director of the Center for Safe Energy, I have had the good fortune to see a huge transformation take place, from when I began in 1986, I am grateful for all the opportunities to work with incredible volunteers, experts, hosts, drivers, interpreters and fellow environmentalists in the US and the former Soviet Union. I have immense admiration for those working tirelessly to protect our environment. I am grateful for the satisfaction and adventure of our work. Our legacy is archived at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University.

     None of this work would have been possible without the partnership of the late and beloved Francis Macy, who began his work in Russia in 1961 and continued to 2009.  Together we expanded to Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Uzbekistan, where we cooked up, and carried out valuable, innovative programs with our partners.

     And, of course, your support was indeed essential to our success, and has meant so much to me. I thank you all for your interest, willingness to participate and immeasurable support.


Enid & the CSE Team


                             photorealistic drawing of a windmill farm

In the Field 2017

CSE sent its executive Director to Almaty and Astana in Kazakhstan where she gave the keynote speech at a ceremony to honor the winners of a new young environmental activist competition. EcoForum, the major network of environmental activists started by Goldman Prize winner, Kaisha Atakhanova on energy efficiency and climate change.

In the Field 2016

CSE sent a delegation from Berkeley to Ukraine, co-led by Program Director Melissa Prager and Energy Expert Prof. John Perkins.

In the Field 2015

CSE is organizing a 2-way exchange with partners in Rivne, Ukraine on energy efficiency and climate change.  CSE will host 3 experts from Ukraine in the Bay Area to meet with their counterparts in the US; and will send 3 US experts to Ukraine to exchange experience on safe energy strategies.

In the Field 2014

The CSE collaborated with partner NGO EcoForum in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to arrange a conference on energy, climate change, and cities.  Participants from both countries had experience in different aspects of the relationships among city governance and the challenges posed by climate change and energy choices.  Both countries’ participants aimed their remarks at the efficacy of programs, policies, and projects to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and mitigate climate change by increasing energy efficiency and promoting the replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy.  

In the Field 2013


 John PerkinsProgram Director, Melissa Prager, and CSE Energy Consultant, Professor John Perkins led a delegation of five US experts to Ukraine to share with NGO and local government leaders the US experience with environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing and positive examples of its alternative.  Our three-day conference, co-organized by CSE and Ukraine’s EcoClub Rivne, included Kari Matsko, a software engineer from Ohio who has struggled with severe health issues as a result of living only 2,500 feet from a fracked gas well. Unlike other members of her community, she didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement. Kari speaks up for the thousands of those who cannot by sharing the truth about health impacts of extracting gas by injecting highly pressurized water mixed with harmful chemicals to fracture shale rocks.  Our Ukrainian counterparts were able to learn about these truths, which helped shape their own campaigns in their struggle to fight against fracking in Ukraine. Thanks to Kari’s leadership and founding of the People’s Oil and Gas Collective, in 2010 the state of Ohio improved its oil and gas laws, which had not been changed since 1965!

Dr. Larysa Dyrszka joined our delegation to Ukraine to provide the medical truths of fracking. A pediatrician and member of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Health Energy , she shared the results of on-the-ground public health assessments and how here in the US, we have a long upward battle against big industry claims that fracking is “safe”.

Jason Edens and Maria Sanders offered alternatives for a more sustainable future. Edens’ experience with pioneering a program to offer low-cost solar thermal heating to the cold climates of rural Minnesota . Sanders gave examples of how citizens and local government can work together for sustainability and energy efficiency, drawing on her experience leading energy andclimate planning initiatives in California. Professor John Perkins, who recently joined the CSE staff as our Energy Consultant, provided a larger context for addressing energy issues in both countries, reminding us that we have to look at energy systems as a whole, with efficiency and renewable technology being most important. Ukraine, and the rest of Europe, looks to the US as the only example of a developed fracking industry and hears little of the opposition. Unfortunately, because of its desire to become energy independent from Russia, the Ukrainian government closed a deal with major oil and gas companies to pursue fracking contracts

Along with the disappointing decision to pursue fracking in Ukraine, the fight for democracy and justice can be seen today, in Ukraine’s bloody crackdown of Euromaidan. Public health systems are very weak, and without that, environmental and health impacts will not be tracked. This makes continuing the work of our delegation even more urgent now

You can access our Ukrainian partner's posting about the exchange here

Melissa Prager


In the Field 2012

Vermont Yankee

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Reactor

Enid Schreibman

Enid SchreibmanOn October 1, CSE Director, Enid Schreibman and Former Member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Peter Bradford participated in the U.S.-Russian Nuclear Roundtable Discussion “Nuclear Power and World Tendencies” in St. Petersburg, Russia.

As Russia deals with the questions of decommissioning nuclear reactors, Professor Bradford shared his experience with our battle here in the U.S. to close the Vermont Yankee reactor. CSE Russian partner and recipient of the Nuclear Free Future award, Oleg Bodrov organized a roundtable at the St. Petersburg department of Central Institute for Continuing Education and Training of Rosatom employees to discuss public participation and the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in both the U.S. and Russia. Oleg participated in a previous delegation to Vermont, facilitated by CSE, where he noted that the Vermont Yankee reactor bears the same environmental risks as Russia’s Sosnovy Bor Chernobyl-like reactor and that we must protect the future generations from these risks.

Oleg Bodrov Peter Bradford

Oleg Bodrov

Peter Bradford

Here is a link to the Voice of America article in Russian about the roundtable discussion:

In the Field 2012 - Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, Professor Bradford, CSE partner Kaisha Atakhanova, and CSE Director Enid Schreibman were part of a video conference “Year after Fukushima: Current Challenges and Future Energy for Kazakhstan” with nuclear experts from Japan, Russia, and Germany. Our Kazakh partners then used the information to inform the press and public in Kazakhstan of the real dangers of nuclear throughout the world. As a result of the roundtable, our Kazakh partners wrote their demand for a moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan!  Read more on our news page.

Also this year in Kazakhstan, we helped our partners to address air pollution in Temirtau, one of Kazakhstan’s most polluted regions. A young woman from the local government’s environmental department participated in a CSE delegation in Berkeley in 2011. As a follow up this year, we brought to Temirtau a U.S. expert on air pollution monitoring who helped develop a partnership between the local government and NGOs in Temirtau to combine efforts for ongoing air pollution monitoring. The scientific data from pollution monitoring will be a powerful tool for our partners’ advocacy campaigns, allowing them to document the impacts of pollution in their regions in Kazakhstan and present a compelling case for reducing pollution. 

A Tribute to Fran Macy

A Remarkable Life 1927-2009

Fran MacyFrancis Macy was a dedicated environmentalist, energy activist and citizen diplomat, whose ground-breaking work inspired fresh collaborative ventures with the former Soviet Union.

The Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Earth Island Institute’s Center for Safe Energy since 1995, he trained hundreds of activists in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan to address the environmental legacy of the nuclear arms race and the Chernobyl disaster. Initiating scores of professional delegations and exchanges between Americans and their counterparts in the former Soviet Union, in the areas of psychology, environment, and citizen organizing since 1983, Macy’s work empowered the rise of non-governmental organizations--a strong contribution to the health of post-Soviet life. In 2005, he was awarded the Nuclear Free Future Lifetime Achievement Award. More

Please visit Fran’s memorial site at

Continuing Fran’s Legacy

His legacy is being carried on as CSE continues to organize delegations from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

photo of a large group of people, some seated some standing delegation