A Japanese TV station (based in New York) recently contacted me about my father's role as Secretary of Health for the state of Pennsylvania, in the Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident in 1979,
My name is R.W., I am a producer working with TV news media from Japan -- TV Asahi (based in New York). We are developing a news feature for broadcast in Japan that will look back health affects and questions surrounding the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. As part of this we would love to especially include the work of Dr. Gordon Macleod during this time. This is related to the similarities of public health concerns currently in Japan related to radiation from nuclear accident, and questions about public health effects. Dr. Macleod seemed to be on the forefront of all of this back in the early 1980s, and was forced out of his position for speaking truth to power. This is is something we would love to illustrate in our news piece.
I am contacting you because my research team forwarded me your contact info as Dr. Macleod was your grandfather as I understand? We contacted the university as well, but we are simply looking to find any colleague of his or someone that is knowledgeable about his work during the accident and the few years following when advocated for better understanding of radiation accident preparedness and understanding. Even a family member who may have a good understanding and remembers his work could be great. Do you know of anyone or a colleague or former assistant of his retired or otherwise that we can reach out to for this perhaps? I greatly appreciate your time and consideration.
Thanks for your email.
Let me contact Professor (Mrs.) S Mazum, a colleague of my fathers in the School of Public Health since the 1970s. (She's a biostatistician with a Ph.D. from Cornell), about speaking with you, per your and TV news media from Japan -- TV Asahi (based in New York)'s request for information.
Here's what I've written my father's role as Secretary of Health for the state of Pennsylvania and Three Mile Island, from his memorial service on August 2, 2008 ) -
"While at the University of Pittsburgh, my father ( www.pitt.edu/~gmacleod - and - http://web.archive.org/web/20080723201931/http://www.pitt.edu/~gmacleod), in 1979, was asked by the then Governor Dick Thornburg to serve as the secretary of health in the state of Pennsylvania. Thornburg picked my father for this position because he had already set up a federal health program, and was recommended by a close adviser of his. Soon after this appointment - 12 days - the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred in central Pennsylvania. My father, the official responsible for managing the health issues, later openly criticized the Thornburg administration’s lack of preparedness for two main reasons. They didn’t have any physicians on what was the equivalent of Pennsylvania’s nuclear regulatory commission to bring forward health considerations in planning for the existing nuclear plants, – it only had engineers. And Pennsylvania didn’t have any potassium iodide stockpiled; potassium iodide protects the thyroid gland from radiation in the event of radiation exposure, such as that which occurred at Three Mile Island nuclear accident. My father resigned a year or so after the accident occurred and continued to speak and write publicly and critically of the country’s preparedness for nuclear accidents"
... which is from my blog entry here ...
And here's his Wikipedia entry, of which I'm the primary author - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_K._MacLeod.
As a related matter, and partly inspired by my father's role in Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and its subsequent, negative, health effects, this WUaS, MIT OCW-centric, 'Nuclear Science and Engineering,' beginning, online, academic department, at startup World University and School - which is like Wikipedia with MIT OpenCourseWare, with free, online university degrees planned, in many large languages - is dedicated to my father, Dr. Gordon K. MacLeod, who was Secretary of Health for the State of Pennsylvania when the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred in 1979 - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Nuclear_Science_and_Engineering. See all the MIT OCW courses here, and related academic resources.
(Here, too, by the way, are the beginning MIT OCW-centric 'Japan' university at WUaS - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Japan - and Japanese language - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Japanese_language - both of which are planned for the Japanese language and with MIT OCW courses translated into Japanese - http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/translated-courses/ - and - http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/foreign-languages-and-literatures/).
The health effects of nuclear energy and weapons are horrendous, and nuclear storage issues are intractable, and I hope we can all learn from the dire lessons of nuclear history. Thank you.