Abstract The shrinkage of (U 0.8, Pu 0.2)O 2±x pellets was investigated with the help of a thermal dilatometer in isothermal and isochronal heating tests. During shrinkage measurements in isothermal heating, the oxygen-to-metal ratio of the pellets was maintained at a constant value by controlling the oxygen potential in the sintering atmosphere. The influence of the oxygen-to-metal ratio on the sintering behavior was evaluated from the measurement results. Mainly two mechanisms dominated the sintering of mixed oxide pellets. When the oxygen-to-metal ratio was close to the stoichiometric composition, pellet shrinkage progressed at low temperatures of 1200–1600 K, and the shrinkage rate of the pellets drastically changed with a small deviation from stoichiometric composition. The result showed that a diffusion process was dominated during the sintering of near-stoichiometric compositions. On the other hand, the sintering of reduced mixed oxide pellet proceeded at high temperatures of 1600–1900 K, and the shrinkage rate was very low as compared with stoichiometric mixed oxide.