We formulate a multiple-encounter model of the radical pair mechanism that is based on a random coupling of the radical pair to a minimal model environment. These occasional pulse-like couplings correspond to the radical encounters and give rise to both dephasing and recombination. While this is in agreement with the original model of Haberkorn and its extensions that assume additional dephasing, we show how a nonlinear master equation may be constructed to describe the conditional evolution of the radical pairs prior to the detection of their recombination. We propose a nonlinear master equation for the evolution of an ensemble of independently evolving radical pairs whose nonlinearity depends on the record of the fluorescence signal. We also reformulate Haberkorn's original argument on the physicality of reaction operators using the terminology of quantum optics/open quantum systems. Our model allows one to describe multiple encounters within the exponential model and connects this with the master equation approach. We include hitherto neglected effects of the encounters, such as a separate dephasing in the triplet subspace, and predict potential new effects, such as Grover reflections of radical spins, that may be observed if the strength and time of the encounters can be experimentally controlled.

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