BERLIN German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said on Wednesday that a court ruling that declared Germany's nuclear fuel tax illegal was a "colossal irritation".
The ruling from the Constitutional Court raised the prospect of a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) refund to utilities at a time of strained balance sheets.
Hendricks, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) - the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition - said the 2009-2013 government, which was made up of Merkel's conservatives and the Free Democrats (FDP), had caused "chaos" in nuclear policy.
"The fact that this bodge (of the previous government) is paying out for the nuclear power companies years later makes the Constitutional Court's ruling a colossal irritation," Hendricks said.
(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Madeline Chambers)