PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) – An Army contractor says about 2 percent of the workers at a Colorado plant destroying chemical weapons could face layoffs or furloughs.

A partnership led by Bechtel Corp. said Tuesday up to 30 workers at the Pueblo Chemical Depot could be affected.

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Pueblo Chemical Depot (credit: earthobservatory.nasa.gov)

Pueblo Chemical Depot (credit: earthobservatory.nasa.gov)

Project manager Rick Holmes says costs must be cut by about $8 million this fiscal year because it took longer than expected to start the highly automated, $4.5 billion plant, and because the Army got less money for the program than expected.

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The plant is destroying about 780,000 shells filled with mustard agent under an international treaty. Mustard kills or maims by blistering skin, scarring eyes and inflaming airways.

The work was expected to finish in 2020. Holmes says it’s not clear whether layoffs would delay that.

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