From 1949 onwards, radioactive waste was released into the Techa River in the southern Urals and the population living along the river was exposed to ionising radiation. Relocation of these people did not start until several years later, causing many individuals to be exposed to substantial doses from internal and external radiation. The identification and follow-up of the exposed individuals started more than 40 years ago and is still continuing. The Techa River offspring cohort (TROC) that has recently been established, comprises 10,459 children born to at least one parent living along the Techa River during the period 1950-1992. Of these children, 3,897 were born during the period of highest release, i.e. between 1950 and 1956 and might thus have been exposed in utero. A total of 1,103 individuals have since died mainly due to infectious and respiratory diseases, injury and poisoning. Only 25 cases were identified as having died of a malignant condition. The radioactive contamination of the Techa River in the southern Urals gives a unique possibility to study the adverse effects of protracted exposure to ionising radiation in a large well-described cohort. The Techa River offspring cohort will make it possible to study the effects on those exposed in utero or early in life and the follow-up of the cohort in the future is, therefore, of great importance. Comparisons with other cohorts of humans exposed early in life, will increase our knowledge in this field of research.