GENEVA (AP) — The leap second may live on for at least another three years.

Once or twice a year the leap second can be tacked on to synchronize atomic clocks — the world's scientific timekeepers — with Earth's rotational cycle, which does not run quite like clockwork.

Sanjay Acharya, a spokesman for the International Telecommunication Union, said Thursday a decision to abolish the leap second has been put off until next week. He said "it's been deferred" because governments were unable to reach agreement at talks this week.

Acharya said the U.S. wants to drop the leap second and Britain has argued to keep it.

Government delegates now plan to examine the issue at a separate meeting in Geneva next week, but Acharya said they will likely defer any formal decision until 2015.