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The effect of oxygenation on the radiation hardness of silicon detectors was studied. Oxygen-enriched and standard float-zone silicon pin-diodes and oxidized samples were processed and irradiated with 15-MeV protons. After the irradiations, the surface photovoltage (SPV) method was applied to extract minority carrier diffusion lengths of the silicon samples. Adding oxygen to silicon was found to improve the radiation hardness of silicon. The effect was visible in minority carrier diffusion lengths as well as in reverse bias leakage currents. The suitability of SPV method for characterizing irradiated silicon samples was proved.