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The energetics of the interactions between molecular hydrogen and common defects in SiO2 that are typically associated with O deficiency have been obtained using atomic-scale quantum mechanical calculations. H2 does not easily crack at neutral vacancies, but it will crack efficiently at O vacancy sites that have captured a hole and relaxed into the puckered configuration of an Eγ' defect, releasing a proton into the oxide. Isolated Si dangling bonds also can play a role in cracking H2, depending on their concentration in the oxides. These results provide significant insight into the underlying causes of latent interface trap buildup in MOS devices and enhanced low-dose-rate sensitivity in linear bipolar devices.