In the early hours of 26 April 1986 a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. The disaster at the Soviet plant remains the worst nuclear accident in history.

An exclusion zone, which has a radius of 30km and covers an area roughly the size of Luxembourg - remains in place around the site in Ukraine. Although largely uninhabited by humans, there are signs that animal life is returning.

This collection of striking photos offers a glimpse inside the exclusion zone.

A child's gas mask and a shoe are seen at a kindergarten in the abandoned city of Pripyat near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, April 4, 2011. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia will mark the 25th anniversary of the nuclear reactor explosion in Chernobyl, the place where the world's worst civil nuclear accident took place, on April 26. Engineers are still struggling to regain control of damaged reactors at the Fuskushima plant after last month?s earthquake and tsunami, in the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, with the government urging the operator of the plant to act faster to stop radiation spreading.    REUTERS/Gleb Garanich  (UKRAINE - Tags: ANNIVERSARY DISASTER ENERGY ENVIRONMENT) - RTR2KTA4
A child's gas mask and a shoe at a kindergarten in the abandoned city of Pripyat.
Image: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
A wolf crosses a road in a forest in the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor near the abandoned village of Dronki, Belarus, April 2, 2016. What happens to the environment when humans disappear? Thirty years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, booming populations of wolf, elk and other wildlife in the vast contaminated zone in Belarus and Ukraine provide a clue. On April 26, 1986, a botched test at the nuclear plant in Ukraine, then a Soviet republic, sent clouds of smouldering radioactive material across large swathes of Europe. Over 100,000 people had to abandon the area permanently, leaving native animals the sole occupants of a cross-border
A wolf crosses a road in a forest in the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
Image: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
A view of the abandoned city of Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant March 31, 2011. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia will mark the 25th anniversary of the nuclear reactor explosion in Chernobyl, the place where the world's worst civil nuclear accident took place, on April 26.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich  (UKRAINE - Tags: DISASTER ENERGY ANNIVERSARY ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS CITYSCAPE) - RTR2KNNU
The abandoned city of Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Image: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
A piano is seen in a kindergarten in the abandoned town of Pripyat, in the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant March 31, 2006. Around 50,000 Pripyat residents were evacuated after the disaster, taking only few belongings. Ukraine is preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster, when a reactor at the Chernobyl plant exploded, spreading radioactivity across Europe and the Soviet Union.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj - RTR1C2BK
A piano in a kindergarten in the abandoned town of Pripyat.
Image: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
A view of an amusement park in the centre of the abandoned town of Pripyat, in the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant March 31, 2006. Around 50,000 Pripyat residents were evacuated after the disaster, taking only few belongings. Ukraine is preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster, when a reactor at the Chernobyl plant exploded, spreading  radioactivity across Europe and the Soviet Union.   REUTERS/Damir Sagolj - RTR1C2G4
An amusement park in the centre of the abandoned town of Pripyat.
Image: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Wild boars walk in the forest of the state radiation ecology reserve in the 30km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor near the village of Babchin, some 370 km (230 miles) southeast of Minsk, February  22, 2011. Still inhospitable to humans, the Chernobyl
Wild boars walk in the forest of the state radiation ecology reserve in the 30km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
Image: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
 Newspapers from March 1986 with a picture of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin are seen in an empty building in the abandoned town of Pripyat, in the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant March 31, 2006. Around 50,000 Pripyat residents were evacuated after the disaster, taking only few belongings. Ukraine is preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster, when a reactor at the Chernobyl plant exploded, spreading  radioactivity across Europe and the Soviet Union.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj - RTR1C2G7
Newspapers from March 1986 left in an empty building in the abandoned town of Pripyat.
Image: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
A raven stretches its wings as it sits on a post inside the 30 km (18 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor near the village of Babchin, some 370 km (217 miles) southeast of Minsk, December 23, 2009. The sign reads:
A raven stretches its wings as it sits on a post inside the 30 km (18 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
Image: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
 A cross with a crucifix is seen in the deserted Ukrainian town of Pripyat November 27, 2012. The town's population was evacuated following the  disaster at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986.  REUTERS/Anatolii Stepanov
A cross with a crucifix is seen in the deserted Ukrainian town of Pripyat.
Image: REUTERS/Anatolii Stepanov
 A general view of the sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine February 22, 2011. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia will mark the 25th anniversary of the nuclear reactor explosion in Chernobyl, the place where the world's worst civil nuclear accident took place, on April 26.   REUTERS/Gleb Garanich (UKRAINE - Tags: DISASTER ANNIVERSARY) - RTR2IYPB
The sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Image: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
 A picture of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin is seen through wild flowers inside a hospital in the abandoned town of Pripyat, in the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant March 31, 2006. [Around 50,000 Pripyat residents were evacuated after the disaster, taking only few belongings. Ukraine is preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster, when a reactor at the Chernobyl plant exploded, spreading radioactivity across Europe and the Soviet Union. ] - RTXOG56
A picture of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin is seen through wild flowers inside a hospital in the abandoned town of Pripyat.
Image: Damir Sagolj/REUTERS
 A white-tailed eagle lands on a wolf's carcass in the 30km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, in the abandoned village of Dronki, Belarus, February 15, 2016. What happens to the environment when humans disappear? Thirty years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, booming populations of wolf, elk and other wildlife in the vast contaminated zone in Belarus and Ukraine provide a clue. On April 26, 1986, a botched test at the nuclear plant in Ukraine, then a Soviet republic, sent clouds of smouldering radioactive material across large swathes of Europe. Over 100,000 people had to abandon the area permanently, leaving native animals the sole occupants of a cross-border
A white-tailed eagle lands on a wolf's carcass in the 30km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
Image: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
 A worker measures radiation levels at a cemetery for contaminated equipment used during the Chernobyl catastrophe, near the village of Rossokha inside the 30 km (19 miles) exclusion zone around the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant March 30, 2006. [Ukraine is preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear disaster, when a reactor at the Chernobyl plant exploded, spreading a radioactive cloud across Europe and the Soviet Union.] - RTXOGWP
A worker measures radiation levels at a cemetery for contaminated equipment used during the Chernobyl catastrophe.
Image: Damir Sagolj/REUTERS
The sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is seen behind a building decorated with a graffiti in the abandoned city of Prypiat April 15, 2011. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia will mark the 25th anniversary of the nuclear reactor explosion in Chernobyl, the place where the world's worst civil nuclear accident took place, on April 26.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich  (UKRAINE - Tags: ENERGY DISASTER ANNIVERSARY) - RTR2L9MM
The sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is seen behind a building decorated with a graffiti.
Image: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich