John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Dispersion and impact of smoke plumes from industrial fires: the case of Lubrizol Volume 20, issue 2, March-April 2021


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This article uses the example of the scientific study of the management of the fire in the Lubrizol plant (Rouen) in September 2019, to examine the issues associated with dispersion modeling of large-scale industrial smoke plumes. Its environmental and health consequences depend on the nature of the chemical compounds transported by these plumes and vary in space and time. A classification of the questions raised by environmental emergencies (accident and post-accident phases) and a review of simulation tools that can be used to respond to them are proposed. The added value of such models and their limitations are discussed. The case of the Rouen fire in September 2019 is particularly instructive in this regard since the different approaches have been implemented and analyzed by Ineris, the French national institute for industrial environment and risks, which supported public authorities during the crisis. The article highlights the maturity of the models, and their inconsistencies when used in real-life conditions, in particular, those related to the source term. In fact, their implementation in emergency situations is more appropriate for monitoring impacts than for risk assessment.