"We have to think about what it's going to do to the environment when we're done with it," she said, referring to nuclear waste. "Look what's happening in Japan now," she added. Radioactive waste "is leaking and it's toxic."
Once land is tainted by nuclear waste, "you can't use it," Hughes said. "It kills everything — the land, the air, the water around it."
Damian Padua of Chicopee, Mass., said he is skeptical that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power can generate the electricity the country needs. Padua, 32, a printer, said the U.S. government and citizens alike are likely to be overwhelmed in the event of a nuclear disaster.
But after the initial shock, he said he is confident authorities and the public would rally.
"I think we have the necessary resources to help everyone," he said. "I think we can do a better job than the way it's going in Japan actually."
The Associated Press-GfK Poll was conducted March 24-28 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,001 adults nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.