peninsula is also home to the ex-Soviet (now Russian) Northern Fleet. This, the largest unit of the Russian navy, at its height during the Cold War
was home base for most of the nuclear vessels
in the Soviet service. Bases were located at:
One unfortunate consequence of this is that the peninsula is now also home to what is probably the world's largest and most dangerous collection of nuclear waste. The Scandinavian environmental group Bellona has issued several warning reports on the dismal state of safety systems and containment at the myriad dedicated and impromptu nuclear waste storage sites on the peninsula, with the intent of attracting Western funding to help renovate them.
Some of the more egregious examples include an above-ground waste dump which is so radioactive that a half-mile limit around it is enforced. There is a fuel rod storage facility whose underwater manipulators broke in the mid-1990s, and since that time the rods have lain on the floor of the vessel, not in their shielded sleeves, contaminating the entire site. There are above-ground storage 'mausoleums' which are visibly corroded and leaking material.
All of this is worsened by the naval problem. Since the USSR and now Russia lacked the funds to properly dispose of decommissioned nuclear submarines, the practice has been to cut the 'reactor room' section away from the submarine ends, and leave it sealed but floating, 'docked' at pier. There are little if any security measures in place. Some docks contain upwards of a dozen of these radioactive sections, still waiting to be cleaned up or to sink.
The Kola peninsula also saw some of the worst disasters of the Soviet navy; in the mid-1980s, a series of explosions tore through a naval armory in Severomorsk, destroying (it is estimated) around 50% of the North Fleet's stock of SAMs and other missile ammunition.
vuo informs me that the name Kola is actually from the Finnish Kuola, which means "death" or "drool" - a tad macabre considering the contamination issue.