Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads (CSNC) is an educational campaign focused on the transportation of nuclear materials and wastes, the local impact of the nuclear complex – both commercial and military. Asheville is at the crossroad of I-40 and I-26. The campaign was initiated in 2004, after a presentation by Dr. Helen Caldicott, world-renown author and speaker on nuclear issues.
Concerned individuals started the campaign raise awareness of the source of the materials and wastes transported through the community: production of nuclear weapons and the production of electric power from the fission of uranium. Soon after the campaign began, a sea change occurred in national nuclear policy, indicating a reversal of the 30-year ban on reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel to recover plutonium. Since the federal nuclear site in South Carolina called Savannah River Site is the most likely place where such a process would be conducted, the specter of a quantum increase in both size and number of nuclear shipments through Western North Carolina became a real concern. Early in 2005 the federal Department of Energy announced the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, showcasing reprocessing.
CSNC produced two reports on the likely consequences to Asheville and WNC of such a shift in policy; both reports are available on this site. In addition, CSNC authored a draft ordinance that would criminalize the transport spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste through the jurisdiction that adopts the ordinance, based on a City of Las Vegas action in 2000.