During a severe accident occurring to a nuclear facility, the radiological consequences are related to the transport and deposition of radionuclides released into the environment. Following the Fukushima accident, significant differences between measurements and simulations were observed for iodine. These could notably be explained by the absence of any iodine chemistry during the transport in the dispersion codes used. To investigate this hypothesis, a reactional mechanism of iodine in the atmosphere has been developed from a critical review of the literature data and 0D and 3D simulations has been performed using the ASTEC and Polair3D simulation tools. The results obtained showed a partial and fast transformation of the released gaseous iodine (I2 and CH3I). The influence of parameters on the iodine speciation such as the pollutant conditions (O3, NOx, COV), photolysis and the amount of iodine is discussed. Iodine turns quickly into oxide forms (IxOy, INOx) and iodocarbons. Significant improvements regarding the reactional mechanism (determination of fundamental data, coupling chemistry-aerosol) remain to be done before coming up with a firm conclusion on the radioactive iodine species present in the atmosphere.