Various Si and Ge rectifier diodes are tested at frequent intervals of γ-radiation doses for changes in ideality factor η and minority carrier lifetime τ. Although both parameters are well known to decrease with dosage, here they are probably for the first time measured to also subsequently increase, decrease, increase, etc., at higher dosages. Examination of diodes in vacuum prior to and following even modest irradiation levels indicates experimentally that noticeable changes in surface properties have been induced by the irradiation. Such experimental techniques permit greater insight into the basic structure of surface phenomena long suspected to play a significant role in diode changes brought about by nuclear irradiation. Utilization of such surface changes leads to a broad general concept to explain the reversals and changes in the dosage dependences of η and τ in terms of bulk versus surface effects.