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Improved superconductors for SMES devices will be developed and tested in the Navy SMES cable development program. To test these improved SMES cables, Westinghouse Science and Technology Center is constructing a background field coil for the SMES cable test apparatus that will provide a magnetic field of up to 4 T on a 1.8 meter diameter test specimen. The background coil superconductor design operating point is determined by stability considerations and the superconductor critical surface. Stability ventilated, cabled superconductor proposed background field magnet is reviewed in terms of cryostability, current redistribution, and enthalpy stabilization of surrounding liquid helium.