I’d be inclined to say that there is no single direct cause. The abandonment of building up our nuclear-power infrastructure is probably largely because of Three Mile Island and The China Syndrome, which were practically simultaneous, though both only served to encourage the “no nukes” mentality that was already prevalent.

I’d say instead that both problems are long-term consequences of the general environmental idiocy that was born in the 1960s and matured in the 1970s.