The Tara Tandem Mirror Experiment

The Tara Tandem Mirror project was funded by the U. S. Department of Energy under contract number DE-AC02-78ET51013 from 1980 until 1988 at a total cost of approximately $50M. The contractor was the Plasma Fusion Center in the north west corner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. The facility was located at 190 Albany Street In Cambridge, MA which formerly housed a Nabisco Cookie plant built in 1905. After a $3.3M renovation and site preparation that began in 1980 and retained most of the original structure, the completed building was known in MIT lingo as NW21 or sometimes the Nabisco building.

During it's operation, the Tara experiment produced approximately 20,000 runs or "shots" of data. The full diagnostic configuration included about 750 channels of digitized data with sampling rates from 5KHz to 1Ghz generating 7MB of raw and processed data per shot. Shot cycle times were between 5 and 10 minutes.

Tara consisted of a central mirror cell, flanked by two "plug" mirror cells and two "anchor" cells. Large vertical tanks contain neutral beam injectors that are used the generate electric fields which can confine the plasma trying to stream out from the central cell.

cross section Cross section of vacuum chamber, magnets and supports.

Cut away view of plasma profile and Neutral beam lines. profile

Photo of Tara in the "cell" and staff: cell photo