Abstract Y2SiO5 nanopowders are prepared by solution combustion method using DFH, sugar and urea as fuels. The final product was well characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy and UV–Vis spectroscopy. The average crystallite size was estimated using Debye–Scherer’s formula and Williamson–Hall plots and are found to be in the range 34–40nm for DFH, 45–50nm for urea and 35–42nm for sugar respectively. X1–X2 type YSO phase was obtained for all the samples calcined from 1200 to 1400°C. The optical energy band gaps (Eg) of the samples were estimated from Tauc relation and varies from 5.58 to 5.60eV. SEM micrographs of sugar and urea used Y2SiO5 show agglomerated particles with porous morphology. However, for the sample prepared using DFH fuel observed to be almost spherical in shape. Thermoluminescence (TL) properties of γ-irradiated (1–5kGy) and UV irradiated (1–30min) Y2SiO5 nanopowder at a heating rate of 2.5°Cs−1 was studied. The samples prepared by using urea and sugar fuels show a broad TL glow peak at 189°C. However, DFH used Y2SiO5 show a well resolved peak at 196°C with shouldered peak at 189°C. Among the fuels, DFH used Y2SiO5 show simple glow peak structure which perhaps useful in radiation dosimetry. This may be due to fuel and particle size effect. The kinetic parameters such as activation energy (E), frequency factor (s) and order of kinetics are estimated by Chens glow peak shape method.