The progenitor of what is now the USTUR was formally established in August 1968 as the National Plutonium Registry by the Hanford Environmental Health Foundation (HEHF) under contract to the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The initial staff included W Daggett Norwood who was appointed as the founding director. He was assisted by Battelle-Northwest staff member, Carlos E. Newton, and an administrative assistant, Dorothy Potter. The HEHF medical director, Philip A. Fuqua, invited a number of recognized scientists to serve as members of a blue ribbon Advisory Committee to help guide the Registry. The six initial committee members included three physicians: Clarence C. Lushbaugh, Thomas F. Mancuso, and J.H. Sterner; two physicists: Robley D. Evans and Herbert M. Parker; and a toxicologist Lloyd M. Joshel. Biophysicist, Wright Langham was added the following year.
By the end of its first year, the Registry had established its basic operating methodology and had started recruiting registrants. Three registrants volunteered that year and forty-five facilities utilizing transuranium elements, largely AEC contractors, were identified and cooperative working arrangements were solicited to these facilities. Forms for collection of health physics and medical data were developed, and active recruitment was carried out at the Hanford site.