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U-10wt.%Zr metallic fuel slugs containing rare-earth (RE: a rare-earth alloy comprising 53% Nd, 25% Ce, 16% Pr and 6% La) elements for a sodium-cooled fast reactor were fabricated by modified injection casting as an alternative method. The distribution, size and composition of the RE inclusions in the metallic fuel slugs were investigated according to the content of the RE inclusions. There were no observed casting defects, such as shrunk pipes, micro-shrinkage or hot tears formed during solidification, in the metallic fuel slugs fabricated by modified injection casting. Scanning electron micrographs and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) showed that the Zr and RE inclusions were uniformly distributed in the matrix and the composition of the RE inclusions was similar to that of a charged RE element. The content and the size of the RE inclusions increased slightly according to the charge content of the RE elements. RE inclusions in U-Zr alloys will have a positive effect on fuel performance due to their micro-size and high degree of distribution.
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