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Other factors that cause anisotropic deformation may be grain boundary tearing, cavitational void swelling, and/or cracking in the peripheral region. 67 This trend can be attributed to cracking and irradiation growth in the peripheral region explained by Hofman et al;67 fuel slugs of high Pu content ($20 wt%) are brittle so that radial cracking occurs in the early stage of irradiation, as can be seen in Figure 20; radial cracking accelerates the time of slug–cladding contact, thereby suppressing the axial elongation.
4,69,70 Interconnection of the bubbles with cracks and cavities may also occur and contribute to open pore formation. The fission gas included in the bubbles is released through the open pores. Figure 22 presents irradiation test data on fractional fission gas release67 (the ratio of cumulative released fission gas atoms to cumulative generated fission gas atoms) versus fuel volume increase for U–Fs, U–Pu–Fs, and U–Pu–Zr fuel, showing that fission gas release starts abruptly when the fuel slug volume increase reaches 20–30%, independently of the fuel alloy composition, burnup, and irradiation temperature.
This process eliminates the need to use molds. 57 The continuous casting of U–Zr alloy slugs with a smaller diameter is under way. Gravity casting Renewed interest is being taken in gravity casting, where fuel melt is poured into molds by gravity with or without the assistance of a pressure difference. In gravity casting as well as centrifugal casting and continuous casting, the furnace containing the fuel melt is not evacuated, unlike in injection casting. This is favorable for suppressing Am evaporation.