Promising existing nuclear reactor concepts together with new ideas are being discussed worldwide. Many new studies are underway in order to identify prototypes that will be analyzed and developed further as systems for Generation IV. The focus is on designs demonstrating full inherent safety, competitive economics and proliferation resistance. The work discussed here is centered on a modularized small-size High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) concept. This paper discusses the possibility of maintaining long-term operation on one fuel loading through utilization of plutonium and higher actinides in the small-size pebble-bed reactor (PBR). Acknowledging the well-known flexibility of the PBR design with respect to fuel composition, the principal limitations of the long-term burning of plutonium and higher actinides are considered. The technological challenges and further research are outlined. The results allow the identification of physical features of the PBR that significantly influence flexibility of the design and its applications.