Within the framework of the European DEMO Breeder Blanket Programme, a research campaign has been launched by University of Palermo, ENEA-Brasimone and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to theoretically investigate the thermo-mechanical behavior of the Helium-Cooled Pebble Bed (HCPB) breeding blanket module of the DEMO1 blanket vertical segment, under normal operation and over-pressurization loading scenarios. The research campaign has been carried out following a theoretical-computational approach based on the finite element method (FEM) and adopting a qualified commercial FEM code. A realistic 3D FEM model of the HCPB blanket module central poloidal-radial region has been developed, including one breeder cell in the toroidal direction and all the five cells in the poloidal one. No Breeder Units have been modeled, their presence being simulated by effective thermo-mechanical loads. Two sets of uncoupled steady state thermo-mechanical analyses have been carried out with reference to the investigated loading scenarios. In particular, under normal operation scenario (level A) the module has been supposed to undergo both 8 MPa coolant pressure on its cooling channel walls and thermal deformations due to the flat-top plasma operational state thermal field, while under over-pressurization scenario (level D) it has been assumed to experience 8 MPa coolant pressure on its internal walls while operating at normal operation thermal level. Results obtained are presented and critically discussed according to the SDC IC code. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.