The Big Four on Germany's nuclear power production, E.ON, RWE, EnBw and Vattenfall, had made a historic deal with the (late) Merkel-Westerwelle government and their kind of 'mid-wife' or 'industrial middleman' free-democratic former Economic Affairs' Minister, Rainer Bruederle, now liberal party whip (or wimp?) of the liberal Bundestag's faction before a devastating tsunami and the Fukushima catastrophe washed away any hopes of extending the life-span of German nuclear power plants beyond 2022.
The Big Four and the ConLib government colluded on additional nuclear industry's financial contributions in terms of handling future nuclear waste, and OK'ed the introduction of a tax on fuel rods (with estimated €2bn+, nearly 3bn fiscal revenue annually) in exchange of life-span extensions of nuclear power plants.
Well, Merkel quickly bulldozed the new bill into legislation, thereby infuriating the left-of-center opposition that regarded this business-deal as blatant breach of a general political consensus with respect to a phasing-out scheme by 2022, initiated by former social-democratic chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
After the Fukushima catastrophe, Merkel must have had a lot nightmares in terms of the deal and the promises she had made to the bosses of the Big Four's Nuclear Empire. She made an incredible U-turn in her conservative, business-friendly policy toward the energy-consuming and export-orientated German industry by suddenly mandating a three month investigative moratorium, creating an ethics' committee on the future of Germany's nuclear energy supply and rushing to an accelerated phase-out, surprise, surprise, to 2022 again.
But the (new) formation of the ConLib coalition members with Merkel and the liberal youngster, Phillip Roesler, as Vice-Chancellor and Economic Affairs' Minister have been making an 'emergency' restart for the remaining 28 months of their tenure.
Parts of the 'Nuclear Empire', especially E.ON, are really incensed by this sudden prescribed endangerment of their private property and equity value - "No extension but taxation, that was not part of the deal", E.ON has fumed. Merkel could have revoked the tax by eliminating the law, but this time the Liberals wanted to keep the money, astonishing, huh?
By keeping the 'flawed' law, the government gives ammo to E.ON to sue against this breach of trust, the devaluation of shareholder value and governmental trespassing of power in terms of protecting private property.
The other three are considering to follow suit. My best guess is that Vattenfall will join E.On. I rather doubt that EnBw or RWE with respective left-of center coalitions, green-red in Baden-Wuerttemberg and red-green in North Rhine-Westphalia are able to resist the political forces of the respective state governments.
The political damage for Merkel has occurred in five state elections, result: zero wins - four losses - one draw.
The free-democratic Roesler party is on the brink of a deadly disaster by making big business, their main sponsors, foes of theirs -incomprehensible, this kind of political suicide.
If E.ON prevailed as winner in court and even received compensation for damages, the impact for Merkel would be devastating.
Then there would be no bright star on the political walk of fame, only reminders of broken promises and greed.