Mining and refinement of uranium along with the production of plutonium creative radioactive waste that gets into ground water and the land, thus affecting human health. Building nuclear power plants costs billions of dollars and takes a long time so investors must wait years before they see some returns. In the past the pressure vessels have been made by welding several pieces together, but there is a danger in this as the borders between pieces can develop cracks causing peril for the nuclear plant. Now there is an increased demand that these vessels be cast as a single unit, but only one company in the world – a Japanese manufacturer – has the machinery to do this, so the wait period for single-forged vessels is three years. There is also a shortage of human capital – over a third of nuclear plant employees will reach retirement age within the next few years with no younger generation trained or educated to take their place as indicated by declining enrollment in higher education programs related to nuclear energy. Finally nuclear energy is unsustainable: recoverable uranium is a limited resource and nuclear reactors, according to the engineers who designed them, have approximately a forty-year lifespan.
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