Lithuania will need such a repository, estimated to cost around 2.52 billion euros, in 2066 after it stops using interim storage facilities, according to the Energy Ministry which has drafted amendments to the Law on State Treasury and related legislation.
The ministry proposes to set aside funds in a separate Reserve Fund account, with 25 percent of dividends from state-owned enterprises to be transferred to it annually. Decisions on other sources of funding would be made at a later stage.
"Funding for the construction, closure, and maintenance of a deep repository is currently not guaranteed, which means that no funds are being accumulated for this purpose," the ministry said.
In May 2018, the European Commission warned Lithuania that it failed to comply with the relevant EU directive because its national program for spent fuel and radioactive waste management did not include provisions for long-lived waste management financing.
If the repository project is delayed, the Commission will launch an infringement procedure against Lithuania and the country may face a fine, according to the ministry.
A more exact estimate of the cost of such a repository could be made after a site is selected and geological surveys are carried out, it said.
Based on preliminary estimates, the bulk of the funds would be needed between 2056 and 2072, including around 1 billion euros for the construction of the repository in 2056 to 2065 and another 900 million euros for its use in 2066 to 2072.
Long-lived radioactive waste, which remains dangerous for thousands of years, is currently stored at the Ignalina plant's interim storage facilities.
Since foreign states, just like Lithuania, prohibit the import of radioactive waste, it has to be disposed of in the territory of the country. There is no other globally recognized way of disposing of such waste.