The response of Y2O3 nanoprecipitates in a 1-mu m YBa2Cu3O7-x layer from a superconducting wire Ag/YBCO/buffer metal oxides/Hastelloy to 107 MeV Kr and 167 MeV Xe ion irradiation was investigated using a combination of transmission electron microscopy, diffraction and X-ray energy-dispersive spectrometry. The direct observation of the radiation-induced tracks in Y2O3 nanocrystals is reported for the first time to the authors' best knowledge. Structureless damaged regions of 5-9 nm (average 8 nm) in diameter were observed in Y2O3 nanocrystals when the electronic stopping power S-e was about or higher than 4.7 keV/nm. This value of S-e is the upper estimate of the minimum electronic stopping power to create damage in yttria nanocrystals. The electron diffraction patterns, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform patterns from areas extending a few nanometres around the tracks show that yttria and YBCO keep their respective cubic and orthorhombic pristine structures.