Abstract : Smectite is a major component of bentonite, a material considered for engineered barriers in high level nuclear wastes repositories (HLNWR). In order to predict the long-term performance of the bentonite, various physical and chemical factors such as, e.g., thermal gradient, redox potential or mechanical stresses are currently considered. By contrast, little is known about radiation effects in smectite, although it might affect the properties of this mineral through cumulative radiation damages produced by ionizing radiations. The present study focuses on radiation damage in montmorillonite considered herein as a simplified model of bentonite. Two reference clays have been selected, one from Liaoning (China, CHI), containing native radiation-induced defects, and the other (called MX) separated from the MX80 reference bentonite (Wyoming, USA). They are distinguished by layer composition, particularly iron content (1 % and 4 % for CHI and MX, respectively). Radiation effects have been studied by combining X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and Mössbauer spectroscopies. Ionizing irradiation induces two main effects. First, several paramagnetic point defects are identified as trapped holes located on oxygen atoms of the smectite structure. These defects are characterized by different thermal stabilities, according to annealing experiments. Their creation is limited by saturation curve with maximum damage around 100 MGy. The response of the two montmorillonites is different in terms of nature and production of point defects, indicating a role of layer composition and structural precursors. Besides, EPR and Mössbauer results show substantial modifications of the oxidation state of structural iron, which are sample and dose-dependent. Irradiation induces reduction and oxidation of iron in CHI and MX samples, respectively. Moreover, physico-chemical treatments show that intensity of redox effects varies significantly with the nature of the interlayer cation and less with the interlayer water content. The radiation effects in MX are expected to strongly modify the layer charge of the montmorillonite owing to the production of positive holes and oxidized iron. This is confirmed with the variations of cationic exchange capacity with He ion irradiation. Amorphization absorbed dose was measured for electronic (TEM) and ionic (ions Kr+) radiations. It was found to vary with the nature of interlayer cations and density charge. Results will be compared with data on of radiation effects in montmorillonite. Discussion will focus on the evolution and reversibility of smectite surface properties relevant for HLNWR.