An image from April 28, 2015, shows smoke rising from a forest fire burning near the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine [Ukrainian Prime Minister Press Service/Andrew Kravchenko/AFP]

Chernobyl, Ukraine – The site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster is not a barren, lifeless wasteland.

A dense, primordial forest dominates the “Alienation Zone” around the shutdown Chernobyl nuclear power plant where Reactor Four exploded in 1986.

More than 100,000 people were evacuated from the city of Chernobyl and the nearby company town of Pripyat, and some 2,600sq kilometres (about 1,004sq miles) were cordoned off and fenced with barbed wire.

Trees and time erase the traces of humans here as pines, birches, oaks and poplars pierce through asphalt, sprout inside crumbling buildings and reclaim forlorn farmland.


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