A tracer model, the DREAM, which is based on a combination of a near-range Lagrangian model and a long-range Eulerian model, has been developed. The meteorological meso-scale model, MM5V1, is implemented as a meteorological driver for the tracer model. The model system is used for studying transport and dispersion of air pollutants caused by a single but strong source as, e.g. an accidental release from a nuclear power plant. The model system including the coupling of the Lagrangian model with the Eulerian model are described. Various simple and comprehensive parameterizations of the mixing height, the vertical dispersion, and different meterological input data have been implemented in the combined tracer model, and the model results have been validated against measurements from the ETEX-1 release. Several different statistical parameters have been used to estimate the differences between the parameterizations and meterological input data in order to find the best performing solution. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.