The state of the art in ICP-MS is now such that there are few discernible differences between radiochemical and mass spectrometric determinations of longlived radionuclides. Indeed, ICP-MS may provide better (more sensitive) data for many radionuclides, depending upon how one wishes to define "long-lived." In lowlevel determinations, sample preparation remains an important part of the analytical procedure, even with ICP-MS, but the speed and isotopic selectivity of the mass spectrometer appear to offer distinct procedural advantages over radiochemical techniques. Therefore, "radioanalytical" ICP-MS applications should continue to grow, especially in the area of radiation protection, but further research (on efficient sample introduction, for example) and method development may be required to get ICP-MS "off the ground" in the geochemical research areas that have traditionally been supported by radiochemistry.
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Applications of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry in environmental radiochemistry