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A nonlinear circuit model for avalanche diodes is proposed. The model was derived by assuming that the bias dependence of the elements in a known small-signal equivalent-circuit model for existing diodes arises in a manner consistent with the theory of an idealized "Read-type" device. The model contains a nonlinear RL branch, a controlled source, and a linear depletion capacitance. The model is used in the nearly linear sense to predict intermodulation distortion (IMD) and gain compression in avalanche diode amplifiers. Computed results for amplifiers with existing diodes are shown to be in good agreement with experiment.