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Intel's aggressive plans to get a new Flash memory fab up and running in 12 months rather than the usual 18 have been foiled by a shortage of plumbers in the Denver area.

The opening of the new $1.2 billion Colorado plant, which will make Flash memory for cellphones and MP3 players, has been delayed until early next year because of a shortage of skilled construction workers and unexpected delays.

Over 2000 people will eventually work at the fab, and some 800 technicians and admin staff have already been taken on to work at the Colorado Springs plant, reports The Denver Post. The opening date for the 500,000sq ft plant was originally scheduled for next month, with production starting a few months later.

But a 120,000sq ft cleanroom won't be ready until early next year as a result of a shortage of plumbers and electricians

"There's a nationwide shortage of electric workers and pipefitters, and we've had troubles finding enough of them," said the construction manager for the plant.

Some 3000 construction workers are involved in the project, but a further 400 are needed to get the project back on track. The fab was originally built in 1996 by Rockwell, but never went into production.

The Post also reports that Intel has been late making payments to the 120 subcontractors, resulting in some of them pulling out of the project. ®

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